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How can sellers use cold email to engage rather than irritate?

In this episode of B2B Revealed, Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell chats with Replyify Co-Founder Ryan O’Donnell on how to use cold email to increase audiences and avoid the spam filter.

Obviously, cold email is more likely to be welcomed when it is relevant to the recipient. But Campbell mentions how common it is for him to open a cold email that has nothing to do with his work. “…It wasn’t targeted, it wasn’t relevant, there wasn’t appropriate research done, [and] it wasn’t packaged correctly,” he said. Clearly, the seller hadn’t bothered to make sure their outreach was of value the recipient. This is a big no-no.

Instead, start with those who already have demonstrated an interest in your product or service. “The easiest place to look, if you already have clients, is your existing client base,” O’Donnell explained. These folks are much more likely to find your outreach applicable to their work than someone contacted out of the blue.

O’Donnell provides some helpful guidelines to prevent sellers from flooding customers’ inboxes and trying their patience. “We like to see 3-5 sentences per email. We like 5-10 emails delivered over the course of 30-45 days, with a mix of give-and-take. You’re giving the [audience] something of value,” O’Donnell said. Make sure buyers can quickly grasp the point of your communication and how it relates to their work. While an occasional follow-up is OK, don’t just keep bugging people who haven’t replied. Instead, focus your energy on those who have chosen to engage in a conversation.

Streamlining your cold email processes is possible through automation platforms such as Replyify. “Replyify helps you manage replies and to-do items, automatically send emails, manage unsubscribes, update contact information, and move folks around,” O’Donnell said. “Once you actually create these different sequences, and you put a strategy around reaching out to these different segments, or personas. It becomes really easy to keep that going because once the automation takes over on the email side, you’re just feeding the beast.” This platform allows sellers to monitor all of their cold emails for legal compliance as well as assess and hone targeting efforts.

In essence, cold email shouldn’t be a shot in the dark. It should be a clear, targeted message with direct relevance to the recipient. Aim to start a conversation, not bury the buyer in a deluge of unwanted email. Add value, not spam.

Defrost Your Cold Email Writing Skills

Want to improve your cold email writing skills, but don’t know where to begin? Listen to the full episode for more on this topic and check out our guide to sending legal cold emails along with tips for effective written communication.

Do you need more B2B brilliance? Check out the many ways you can follow us.

Author information
Sean Campbell
CEO

Sean Campbell is the CEO of Cascade Insights, a competitive intelligence and market research firm for B2B technology companies. A 20-year technology veteran, Sean oversees the health of the firm, drives the company’s thought leadership efforts and maintains relationships with key clients.

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Somewhere between intent and interpretation, a lot can get lost in translation.

Many B2B marketers suffer from this problem. Some focus heavily on one buyer persona and ignore the other key figures in B2B purchase decisions. Others fail to communicate what sets their product apart from the crowd. Buyers balk at cocky messaging or jargon that goes over their heads.

Make sure you’re leaving target customers with a favorable impression. Read on for the most common problems revealed by our message testing research for B2B technology companies.

You Have Buyer Personas. Plural. Woo them all.

Research shows that B2B tech purchases tend to be group decisions. Your messaging should target each buyer persona involved in the purchase.

Don’t just focus on the big guns. There are more people involved in B2B buying decisions than the executive signing the purchase order. Messaging that only focuses on C-levels or VPs is doomed to fail, as it ignores other important decision-makers such as end users, department heads, and business group leaders.

Your Differentiators Should Be…Differentiated.

How different is your messaging from your competitor’s? Are both websites a list of the same “itys”? Do both websites boast of fantastic reliability, security, manageability, and usability?

Instead of trying to score on every possible differentiator, pick one and nail it.  Perhaps you uniquely meet a target persona’s “job to be done.” Maybe you can boast of exceptionally smooth integration. Or perhaps you offer pricing models that are far more attractive than those provided by your competitors. Speak to your real strengths.

Don’t Pretend To Be Buyers’ Only Hope.

Most business problems existed before your company appeared on the scene. Be cautious about claiming to be the only solution capable of solving a problem.

Instead, strive to convince buyers that your solution is the best at solving the problem it was designed to solve. That way, you won’t inadvertently insult buyers who have been tackling the problem in another way.

Don’t Skip The Basics.

Address user experience in your messaging. Ease-of-use, integration, and adoption rates nearly always factor into B2B buying decisions.

These elements don’t need to be at the forefront of your messaging, but it wouldn’t hurt to weave them in (when you can back them up).

Use Acronyms Smartly and Sparingly. 

Make sure you’re not using acronyms that are alienating to your audience.

Yes, use acronyms that are common knowledge within the vertical or business group you’re targeting. This helps to demonstrate a shared expertise in the buyer’s field.

Be very careful that you’re not using acronyms that are only common knowledge within your own company or amongst isolated groups of market analysts.

Know the difference before you flood your messaging with acronyms.

Anticipate “Too Good To Be True” Concerns.

There may be a downside to the benefit of your product or service. Buyers will be looking for one.

Do you offer a flexible platform?  Customers might worry that implementation will take too long. Are you providing a point solution to a single problem? Buyers may fear that the challenge of integrating with their other solutions outweighs the benefit.

Sing the praises of your solution’s benefits. Then address concerns about tradeoffs.

Answer The FAQs.

Make sure your marketing answers obvious, initial questions. Front-load your home page with answers to questions like “what does it look like?” and “how much does it cost?”

If buyers can’t find answers quickly, they probably won’t work very hard to figure it out.

That said, strong messaging should raise enough intrigue to make potential buyers want to learn more.

Are They Getting The Message?

While these guidelines will help you to convey the message you intended, it’s important to learn how your buyers are interpreting your marketing.

Market research, to the rescue! Message testing compares the “message received” to the “message sent,” diagnoses disparities, and provides insights to correct strategy.

This blog post is brought to you by Cascade Insights. Our research helps marketers craft messaging that resonates with target buyers.

Author information
Colleen Clancy
Senior Research Analyst
| LinkedIn |
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Facts and statistics make for a boring presentation. If you want to earn thunderous applause with your next conference talk, make sure your speech actually says something. Spellbind with a story.

Search for B2B Revealed on your favorite podcast player (iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and more) to subscribe.

In this episode, Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell interviews renowned speaker Troy Hazard on giving a conference talk. Hazard is a seasoned keynote speaker, entrepreneur, author, TV presenter, and business consultant with more than 25 years of experience.

Hazard points out that an emotional arc means more to the audience than a random list of data points. “People relate to stories. That’s why we like the movies. We like to see the hero win and the villain get crushed, and all that sort of stuff. It’s the same on stage,” he said. “They’re going to immerse themselves in the journey, and there’s a far better learning opportunity when you do it that way.” Give your audience a reason to care about your data by putting it in context and explaining why it matters.

Campbell pointed out that some individuals are natural storytellers, others are not. What if a non-storyteller finds themselves giving a presentation? Can they learn to build a compelling narrative?

Short answer: yes. Anyone can turn experience into a story. What happened? What did you learn from it? How did you change afterward? How did that affect outcomes? Hazard encouraged potential speakers to answer the question: “What was the action you took after you experienced the events in this story?” That’s what audiences want to know and learn from.

Another key tip: don’t spend 5 of your 60 minutes walking through your bio. Instead, take the opportunity to grab your audience’s attention as quickly as possible. “I learned a lesson from a fellow speaker years ago that the best way to start that presentation is to walk out and start it. I’ll walk out onto the stage and say, ‘Let me take you back to 1996. I’m getting off a plane from Tokyo, and I get a call from the office, and the first thing is that they tell me is we just lost $375,000.'” In other words, get right to the point and start the story off right away.

To give a speech worth listening to, you gotta tell a good story. Turn your presentation into a hero’s journey of lessons learned from experience.

More Ways To Dazzle Your Audience

Want to spruce up your presentation skills? Listen to the full episode for more speaking tips and see our collection of business communication best practices.

Do you need more B2B brilliance? Check out the many ways you can follow us.

Author information
Sean Campbell
CEO

Sean Campbell is the CEO of Cascade Insights, a competitive intelligence and market research firm for B2B technology companies. A 20-year technology veteran, Sean oversees the health of the firm, drives the company’s thought leadership efforts and maintains relationships with key clients.

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Never waste an opportunity to learn from a lost deal.

While each win-loss analysis is unique, over the years, we’ve found many common themes that keep costing B2B tech companies customers and deals. From inflexible pricing, to misguided messaging, to bad sales strategy, we’ll talk you through some of the most common B2B blunders and how to avoid them.

These insights have been distilled from more than 200 recent interviews with B2B buyers, decision makers, influencers, and product/service evaluators.

Rigid Pricing Models 

We found that inflexibility in pricing models was a major deterrent for B2B tech buyers.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all pricing model. Some buyers prefer CAPEX pricing models with large sums paid upfront and depreciation and amortization as favorable accounting practices down the road. However, most customers favor OPEX models born of the cloud and as-a-service offerings. Others want something in between. Even within these two models, there’s room for named user pricing, concurrent user pricing, and add-on module pricing.

Choice is key. One product manager told us, “We started with an investigation of a transactional price, and all the vendors were able to do that. But then we wanted to move away from that and get an all-you-can-eat model. That was a real challenge for some of the vendors.”

While you don’t want your pricing to be super complicated, you want enough flexibility to be able to have a pricing structure that matches customer needs and can win the deal.

Whose problem is this?
  • Pricing teams developing which pricing models to offer.
  • Marketing teams positioning the pricing models.
  • Sales reps when customers ask, “How much does this cost me today and tomorrow?”
  • Enterprise vendors caught between on-prem and cloud business models.
  • Start-ups and SaaS technology pure-plays with inflexible pricing models.
Key Lessons

Strategize how you can be flexible without being complex. Consider how different CAPEX and OPEX pricing models may complement corporate spending cycles. For instance, we found that offering quarterly pricing in addition to annual and monthly has tipped the scales on some deals.

Customers often switch vendors when a big contract is up for renewal. Take away that trigger by offering OPEX pricing options or an early renewal incentive. This is becoming commonplace even for on-prem offerings.

Research Remedies

Research buyer personas, customer satisfaction with your pricing models, and competitor pricing models to determine the options that would be most appealing to target customers.

All-Or-Nothing Attitude 


Company leadership usually wants sales teams to pitch the suite or even the entire platform to customers. This is often much more than B2B buyers want.

In our research, we heard many complaints about upselling or being forced to buy more than was needed. “I feel like you’re always in a sales environment where they’re trying to sell you their next solution even though you haven’t figured out how to use what you have,” one B2B buyer told us.

All-in-one is an appealing concept, but many customers are cautious whether such a pitch is too good to be true. Concerns are raised about integration, customization needs, lock-in, and lower adoption due to the replacement of favored tools.

A platform that does too many things at once can scare buyers away if they aren’t ready for the seismic shift of ripping and replacing critical systems.

Buyers also get annoyed when they sense that sales reps are more concerned with making another sale than they are with making sure the customer gets the solution they need. This ruins all possibility of strengthening the relationship with the buyer.

“As soon as you get on the phone with these guys, they’re ready to upsell you,” another customer complained to us. “They’re ready to [say], ‘Well if you get this tier, you can get this. If you get this tier, you can get this’…[But], I really wanted something specifically tailored to do what I want to do.”

Vendors should make sure they have offerings that match buyers’ requirements, not just expensively exceed them. Don’t let short-term goals cloud long-term strategy. Being pushy about closing this deal, now can cost you lasting relationships with buyers.

Whose problem is this?
  • Sales leadership when setting sales strategy.
  • Sellers when pushed to “sell the suite” to the detriment of lasting customer relationships.
  • Product leaders needing to build solutions that can be used piecemeal when necessary.
  • Marketers failing or neglecting to show how each piece works independently of the other.
  • Marketing teams determining the minimum SKUs.
Key Lessons

Recognize that some customers simply don’t need everything you have to offer right now. Have offerings that let customers bite off what they can comfortably chew.

Our research indicates that land-and-expand models tend to win more deals than pushing a top-down sale from the get-go.

Technology buyers increasingly want partnerships instead of transactional relationships. Our research indicates that vendors who prioritize land-and-expands sales are getting more wins than those that are driving for all-in-one.

Research Remedies

Researching key buying criteria, buyer personas, and go-to-market strategies can uncover how sales and marketing can best speak to buyers’ specific use cases and how product teams can build solutions that can accomplish customers’ “jobs to be done.”

Sales Not Doing Their Homework 

B2B buyers notice when sellers are not up-to-speed on their company and use case. Customers can easily spot a canned demo, especially when requirements have been shared via RFP or similar.

If a sales rep doesn’t do their homework on target buyers, there are many tells. To name a few examples: a noticeable lack of the buyer’s industry context, not knowing customers’ “jobs to be done,” or offers that wildly miss the mark of buyers’ needs.

For instance, a marketing manager told us about sitting through a sales pitch where the seller clearly should have realized that the pricing model they were offering wasn’t feasible. “My total marketing budget is only about $700,000. For everything. That’s all my mailings, all my postage, all my creative, all my digital. So, obviously, a 50 or 80 thousand dollar spend just doesn’t make sense,” the marketer told us.

Another word of caution: sales reps, don’t assume your product or service is superior to the competition. You have to listen to your customers to know how they are evaluating potential solutions. Humility and curiosity about the customer’s needs are sure-fire methods for shedding the superiority complex.

Whose problem is this?
  • The C-suite when setting sales goals. Focus on long-term relationships not just end-of-the-quarter deal-closing.
  • Sales leadership hiring sales talent and setting best practices for engaging with customers.
  • Sellers during client conversations and initial engagements.
Key Lessons:

Sales needs to do their homework on buyers’ particular use cases and specific business contexts. Prepare for the sales pitch and listen to what customers say throughout.

Research Remedies:

Post-pitch follow-up calls and questionnaires gather important feedback from customers who said “yes” and those who said “no.” Win/loss market research studies uncover candid customer perspectives on sales performances.

Ignoring the Customer’s Existing Environment 

B2B purchases don’t happen in a vacuum. Except in an unusual extreme overhaul, each new B2B purchase will have to interact with the products and services the buyer is already using. Hence, “How well will this solution play with our existing environment?” is an inevitable question in the B2B buyer’s journey.

In the words of a CIO we interviewed, “We can’t get past that roadblock. In our minds, it was like, ‘We can’t get to how it’s going to integrate with our system because you can’t demonstrate you can do it.’”

Of course, it’s not always obvious how a new product or service will fit in with existing solutions. In these cases, buyers need to know how much customization and configuration is in their future.

Product managers, remember that customers shy away from solutions that require months of coding, specialists, and other customization hoops. Whenever possible, buyers favor integration that can be accomplished with configuration rather than development.

Also, product managers, make sure integrations won’t break every time a vendor rolls out an update.

Marketers, avoid messaging that says the product can do anything for everyone. Instead, demonstrate how the solution can be used within the context of what particular customers are trying to accomplish. Targeted marketing and customer referrals are helpful here.

Sales, promising there will be no integration headaches is usually disingenuous. Just because you sell it doesn’t mean the customer won’t bail when implementation turns into an unexpected disaster.

Whose Problem Is This?
  • Product managers when prioritizing the goals and attributes for a new product or service.
  • Marketers when crafting messaging about use cases.
  • Sellers when explaining to the buyer what customizations and integrations they should anticipate.
Key Lessons:

Don’t overpromise seamless integration for everybody. Set accurate expectations for customization and integration in the buyer’s specific context.

Strive to make customization a process of configuration. Avoid code-heavy methods of customization. (Unless your target persona is a developer, in which case, go nuts!)

Research Remedies:

Key buying criteria and buyer’s journey research can determine how heavily customers are weighing configuration capabilities in their buying decisions.

Messaging Is Speaking The Wrong Language 

Messaging that focuses on the technical aspects of a product when targeting business users is a common B2B misstep. This leads to poor awareness of the product’s business capabilities and may influence the buyer to believe the product is too complex for their case.

A business process improvement specialist shared their frustrations about sellers assuming that business users are also IT experts. “The business user pops in there and says, “Wait a minute, this feels like that IT mumbo jumbo that IT typically speaks at us. That makes no sense to us and we just shut down,” they said.

The same problem can appear when marketing overemphasizes the business angle when they should be targeting IT buyers.

Whose Problem Is This?
  • Sellers during sales pitches.
  • All facets of marketing.
  • Marketers tasked with lead gen especially.
  • Vendors entering a new market (vertical or solution-specific).
Key Lessons:

Talk to buyers in a language they’ll understand.

Research Remedies:

Messaging and positioning testing, buyer’s journey mapping, buyer persona, and go-to-market studies are specifically designed to inform customer targeting efforts. These research efforts explore all facets of the B2B buyer’s purchasing experience.

Star-Crossed Use Cases 

Sometimes it’s just not a great fit.

Ideally, your sales team spends their time pitching to buyers whose needs match the solution’s key features and core competency. But that isn’t always the case.

Yes, it can be hard to retreat after investing time and effort in a target buyer. However, it’s much smarter to leave a doomed deal and refocus your energies where they will be more successful.

As one IT manager told us, “The partner was really wanting to get into customizations and how we can make this work for our business. We were taking the approach of, ‘Well, we want this product to work for us in a way that it’s designed for [rather than] trying to make this product work for us by forcing [it] to use our processes.’”

It’s essential for sales to recognize a doomed deal early in the relationship with a potential customer. That way, sales can refocus on buyers that would benefit from the solution’s core competency and features. You know, deals they might actually win.

At the same time, don’t make the buyer feel ditched. Be honest that you’re not a fit, leave them in a good place, and re-engage with other products down the road that are more in the sweet spot.

Success comes from fitting the product to the customer, not the customer to the product or service.  

Whose Problem Is This?
  • Product teams during the design process. It’s best to design for specific “jobs to be done” rather than just shooting for the moon.
  • Sales when deciding which customers to prioritize. Devote the most time and effort to buyers that benefit from the product’s core competency.
Key Lessons

If you’re building a product for a particular buyer persona, make sure you have a firm grasp of their “jobs to be done” that need to be accomplished via your solution.

Target buyers that have a need that can be met by the core competencies of your product or service.

Research Remedies

Customer journey mapping, key buying criteria and market opportunity assessments uncover why buyers are looking for a product or service in the first place. This research determines the functionalities needed to accomplish buyers’ “jobs to be done” along with the features that customers prioritize the most.

Turn Loss Into A Strategic Gain 

Each lost deal, when properly analyzed, yields useful information to hone your product, sales, and marketing strategies.

It all boils down to understanding buyers’ wants and, more importantly, their needs. This insight gives you the ability to:

  • Determine which customers to target.
  • Strategize ways to expand existing customer accounts and form lasting relationships with new customers.
  • Build products that satisfy buyers’ “jobs to be done.”
  • Create solutions that don’t give and charge buyers way more than they need or want.
  • Use messaging that speaks to buyers in terms they understand.
  • Offer pricing model options that will appeal to target customers.
  • Recognize use cases that aren’t a good fit and devote sales efforts elsewhere.

Want to turn your lost deal into an insight gain? Get in touch.

Research for this analysis was conducted by Jacob Dittmer, Tyler Honsinger, and Scott Swigart. Learn more about our research for B2B technology companies.

Author information
Isabel Gautschi
Marketing Manager

Isa received her B.A. from Bard College. She was a journalist before joining Cascade Insights. She primarily works with editing and sharing the podcast and blog.

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How should marketers balance the need to be visible with the need to be relevant and useful?

Search for B2B Revealed on your favorite podcast player (iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and more) to subscribe.

In today’s episode, Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell talks to Phil Singleton, CEO of Kansas City Website Design & SEO. Singleton is the author of “SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers & Entrepreneurs.” He is also a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant.

They discuss Google’s focus on prioritizing content that’s addressing a genuine need. Singleton explains why focusing on buzzwords alone isn’t enough to get the traffic you need. Campbell and Singleton explain why having a strong marketing strategy leads you to the right keywords.

Singleton shares why he thinks video and podcast guesting are great content strategies. YouTube is a platform in its own right, with its own traffic, and its own optimization strategies, so it’s great to have a presence there. Podcasting brings the guest visibility and establishes them as a thought leader. “[Podcast guesting] is the fastest path to building authority,” Singleton said.

Savvy marketers build helpful, user-friendly content, and don’t simply focus on keyword rank.

“The moral of the story is to always focus on providing really good content that is the answer to somebody’s problem, or research, or question,” Singleton said. SEO strategy isn’t just a mindless focus on keywords, but how you make sense of them for your audience.

What Type of Content Will Impress Your Buyers?

When looking for a solution, what, where, when, why, and how do your target buyers evaluate their options? Check out our research on key buying criteria, buyer’s journey, and more.

Do you need more B2B brilliance? Check out the many ways you can follow us.

Author information
Sean Campbell
CEO

Sean Campbell is the CEO of Cascade Insights, a competitive intelligence and market research firm for B2B technology companies. A 20-year technology veteran, Sean oversees the health of the firm, drives the company’s thought leadership efforts and maintains relationships with key clients.

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Listen Now!

The best marketers love data and the creative process in equal measure.

On this episode of B2B Revealed, “Analytical Marketer: How to Transform Your Marketing Organization” author Adele Sweetwood is our guest. Sweetwood is the senior vice president of global marketing & shared services at SAS (Statistical Analysis System).

Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell and Sweetwood explore why an analytical mindset is necessary for a properly targeted marketing success strategy.

Master The Art of Analytical Marketing. Listen To Learn:
  • How to use data to shape your company’s marketing strategy.
  • Why having a Ph.D. isn’t necessary for becoming a data scientist.
  • How SAS transformed their marketing strategy.
  • Tips for navigating the challenges of large collaborative projects.
  • The dangers of over-communicating to customers.
  • Why being customer-oriented is even more strategic than being goal-oriented.
  • How to enforce team collaboration & dependency.
  • The importance of using metrics to gauge channel performance.
  • Why “orchestrators” and “analytical marketers” make great company leaders.
  • What to do when it’s hard to get the data.
  • How to apply analytical marketing techniques to a small business.

Notable Quotes From Adele Sweetwood:

“The days of marketing as simply an artistic endeavor are gone. That’s not to say that creative skills are not in demand, it’s just that [creative skill] alone [is] insufficient.”

“We’re killing our customers with messages.”

“Once you start the engine moving, you don’t want the pieces missing.”

“The sales relationship needs constant care and feeding.”- Sweetwood on communication between marketing and sales.

“Investment in technology and … [capturing] data and analytics in your company is better than an ad you might buy or an event you might go to.” – Sweetwood on marketing for small businesses.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Market Research Insights For Marketers:

  • Don’t confuse popularity with profitability. Make sure your method of evaluating marketing success measures the right thing. Learn more.
  • Is your marketing resonating with your customers? Is it even reaching them? Check out how we market researched ourselves to answer these questions.
  • Is your marketing strategy based on outdated assumptions? Find out.

Subscribe to B2B Revealed on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, or Stitcher.

Want more B2B brilliance? There are lots of ways to follow us.

Author information
Sean Campbell
CEO

Sean Campbell is the CEO of Cascade Insights, a competitive intelligence and market research firm for B2B technology companies. A 20-year technology veteran, Sean oversees the health of the firm, drives the company’s thought leadership efforts and maintains relationships with key clients.

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This year our podcast went through a major change. The B2B Market Research Podcast became B2B Revealed. Our focus broadened to a myriad of issues that impact our clients in the B2B technology sector. The result? More interviews, more thought leaders, more insight, and an even better B2B Podcast.

As the end of the year approaches, we decided to take a look back at your favorite episodes of the year.

Your Favorite B2B Market Research Podcasts of 2017 1. Customer Insights: You Need More Than Market Segmentation Data

For this episode, B2B Market Research/B2B Revealed Host Sean Campbell reviewed Clayton Christensen’s “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice.

Campbell, also the CEO of Cascade Insights, explains the book’s special relevance to product teams and corporate researchers.

Understanding “jobs to be done” allows companies to build the solutions their target customers actually need and to identify unmet market needs.

Ignore target customers’ “jobs to be done” at your peril. If a rival meets that need before or better than you, you’re ripe for disruption. Market research can uncover your customers’ “jobs to be done” and spot disruption red flags.

2. Big Data Ethics: Math Responsibility

Big data is just a bunch of numbers without analysis. But, that analysis has to have a basis on good math. Unfortunately, many a big, impactful decision in business, technology, and government have a basis on flawed math and bad analysis… Worse, these false arguments give the appearance of being backed by big data. Needless to say, it has never been more important to math responsibly.

In this episode, Campbell discusses Cathy O’Neil’s excellent book “Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy” and how it applies to the B2B technology field.

3. The Pre-Flight Checklist for Research Presentations

No one wants to sit through a boring presentation. To capture and hold your audience’s attention, you need to transform yourself into a master storyteller.

Luckily, there is an easy way to make sure your presentation is interesting, effectively communicating your story, and highlighting critical information. Campbell shares a pre-flight checklist to keep your business presentation from crashing and burning. Make sure your audience’s key takeaways are the ones you intended.

4. Market Research Recruiting: How To Get A Superb Sample

Unfortunately, sloppy market research recruiting is the industry standard. But why waste your research budget on a panel firm when they interview respondents that aren’t qualified to answer the study questions?

Campbell explains Cascade Insights’ unique approach to finding study respondents that can truly answer clients’ questions in context.

5. Sales Needs A Say In Strategy

Through interactions with buyers, your sales team is essentially doing qualitative research on target customers every day. So why do so many B2B tech companies overlook their sales team’s experiences as a valuable source of data?

Campbell describes the unfortunate tendency for B2B tech companies to isolate their sales teams. He goes on to explain why it’s in companies’ best interest to give sales a seat at the table when determining strategy.

Your Favorite B2B Revealed Podcasts of 2017 1. Why You Suck at Virtual Presentations

This episode features Roger Courville, the “Michael Jordan of online presentations and virtual classes.” Courville and Campbell discuss how to effectively teach via webinar, captivating audiences, and generating engagement.

2. Creating The Category

Campbell talks mid-market marketing with Matt Ipri, vice president of marketing and business development at Decision Lens. The two discuss how to create a new category when the product is first-of-its-kind.

3. Is Cold Email a Legal Evil?

Campbell takes a hard look at cold email legislation, market research loopholes, and international law. Spoiler alert: the legality of cold email varies from country to country.

He also shares tips for B2B tech companies to keep their cold emails legal, and less evil than the rest of the junk mail flooding your inbox.

4. Sell Like The Avengers

In this episode, Campbell discusses evolutions in B2B sales with Nic Read, founder of SalesLabs, co-founder of RGI and EdX, researcher, author, consultant, and teacher. Together they discuss how old sales habits need to change, and new approaches to consider.

5. The Spy Who Wasn’t – Clarifying Competitive Intelligence

No, it is not corporate espionage. Campbell interviews Competitive Intelligence Expert August Jackson on the strategy, systemization, and ethics of CI. Learn why a strategic pricing analysis program can get you more information than even the competitor’s price book.

Thanks For Listening!

We’ve enjoyed bringing B2B tech topics and thought leaders to our listeners. Here’s to another great year of B2B!

From all of us at Cascade Insights, we wish a happy holiday season and a fantastic 2018 to all of our listeners.

Subscribe to B2B Revealed on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, or Stitcher.

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Sean Campbell
CEO

Sean Campbell is the CEO of Cascade Insights, a competitive intelligence and market research firm for B2B technology companies. A 20-year technology veteran, Sean oversees the health of the firm, drives the company’s thought leadership efforts and maintains relationships with key clients.

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It was a good year for B2B content. As we reflect on 2017, we bring you a countdown of our most read articles of the year.

10. What To Read In B2B

Our “B2B Book Reviews: One-Sentence Recaps” page offers an efficient path to seeking wisdom from experts and staying on top of new trends.

We provide you with some of the best classic and recent books on B2B – and a few we don’t think are worth your time.

For example, here’s what we had to say about these books:

This list will provide you the opportunity to improve your B2B skills, and is continuously updated with new books to rush order or avoid like the plague.

Have a book that you want us to review? Let us know.

9. #Mrx Pro-Tip: Interview Your Competitors’ Ex-Sellers

Running B2B Market Research? 26 Questions to Ask Sales Reps” reveals the wealth of insight you can access by interviewing former members of rival sales teams.

This piece includes key questions to help you get the right data. For example:

  • What were the key selling points of the competitor’s product or service?
  • Which product features were clients most interested?
  • What buying criteria did clients have?
  • Which features left customers uninterested or unimpressed?
  • Which of the competitor’s product or service features were the most lacking?

Check out the full article for more key questions and best practices for interviewing ex-sellers to better understand your rivals.

8. “You Can’t Always Have Quant With Your Qual.”

B2B tech is a niche field. As such, it can sometimes be extremely challenging or downright impossible to get an appropriate sample for a quantitative study. Luckily, qualitative research can get the answers without relying on a mathematically irresponsible sample.

Learn how to design the right kind of study to match your needs with “You Can’t Always Have Quant With Your Qual.

7. If You Have a Point, Make It & Other Grumpy Writing Tips

If you’re in B2B tech, chances are, your job requires you to communicate through writing at some point. Read “Write Right: Convincing Content” for the best ways to get your point across.

Marketing Manager Isabel Gautschi encourages you to mean what you say, make smooth transitions, procrastinate strategically, and say it in fewer words. She didn’t earn her editing nickname “Half-As-Long” for nothing. Check out the piece for more curmudgeonly advice for writing compelling arguments.

6. There Are No Stupid Questions, But There Sure Are Some Smart Ones

In “101 Market Research Questions,” we share some of the sharpest questions we have based studies off of for B2B tech clients. Check out the smartest questions our clients have asked us to answer over the years.

5. “This Methodology Opens Numerous Possibilities.”

Gender Gap: A Look at 50 Tech Giants” shows us that LinkedIn ad targeting opens the door for a number of studies of the tech industry.

We took a look at the workforces of 50 large tech companies to uncover insights on the gender gap and to reveal the demographic information accessible to researchers through ad targeting.

Yep, the gender gap is still pretty gapingly wide. The good news is that researchers are not forced to wait for intermittent diversity reports to study it.

4. Disruption Red Flag: Competitors Know Your Customers’ “Jobs To Be Done” Better Than You Do

Are you missing a critical measurement of success? Find out with “Customer Insights: You Need More Than Market Segmentation Data.

It’s essential for companies to understand “jobs to be done” in order to build solutions that truly meet their customers’ needs.

Using Clayton Christensen‘s latest book, “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice,” we examine essential questions for product teams:

  • What are target customers’ “jobs to be done”?
  • Does your solution get the job done?
  • Do you have the right data to measure whether or not it does?
  • Do customers have a “job to be done” that no current marketplace solutions meet? If so, this is an opportunity for innovation.
3. “Don’t Just Drop the Bomb and Leave.”

It’s difficult to be the bearer of bad news, but we share our constructive approach in “How Good Researchers Give Bad News.

Check it out to learn how we turn bad news into constructive criticism. Advice includes:

  • Be direct.
  • Use data to defeat fear.
  • Acknowledge sample bias.
  • Describe the disaster you’ve averted.
  • Offer a cure.
  • Remember: There was a fire before you arrived.

Good researchers know not just share devastating findings and leave. Instead, they deliver the bad news, endure the pushback, and point the client in a direction that can improve their business.

2. Keep Your Presentation From Crashing & Burning

The Pre-Flight Checklist for Research Presentations” provides a handy way to make sure your presentation is ready to soar to success. Relevant to anyone giving a business presentation, our advice shares practical tips for keeping your audience engaged.

1. Our Ageism In Tech Data Got Your Attention

Your favorite article of this year was, “Ageism in Tech: The Silent Career Killer.

We examined government data, a Payscale study and LinkedIn ad targeting data to research ageism in the tech industry. Spoiler alert: the tech industry is not kind to those over age 35.

Thanks For Reading!

This year has provided us the ability to continue growing as a business, expanding our client base, and provide you with quality content that is important to you. We continue to appreciate our listeners and readers and encourage them to share their terrific feedback. We look forward to sharing more research, book reviews, and exciting interviews with you in the coming year. Thank you for your support, and we wish you the happiest of New Years!

This post is brought to you by Cascade Insights.

Author information
Sean Campbell
CEO

Sean Campbell is the CEO of Cascade Insights, a competitive intelligence and market research firm for B2B technology companies. A 20-year technology veteran, Sean oversees the health of the firm, drives the company’s thought leadership efforts and maintains relationships with key clients.

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The B2B tech world has a lot at stake with net neutrality.

Many businesses “live” on the internet today in ways they never did before. They market through the internet, they sell through the internet, and many of their internal business processes (payroll, HR, AR/AP) rely on the internet.

Should net neutrality be repealed, businesses may be forced to pay more for the same services they access today. Businesses might also find there is less choice among SaaS apps or cloud services to purchase. Further, in order to cope with new costs, businesses may have to radically alter their pricing structures and budgets.

On this episode of B2B Revealed, two B2B CEOs discuss what the potential repeal of net neutrality would mean for business. Contextly CEO Ryan Singel brings his perspective as a media and strategy fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society to the issue. Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell interviews him on the implications of a net neutrality rollback for ISPs, tech companies, and startups.

Will A Net Neutrality Repeal Impact Your Business? Listen To Learn:

  • What net neutrality is.
  • How the current model protects consumers and innovators.
  • Why ISPs want a repeal.
  • The business implications of a potential net neutrality repeal.
  • What would happen to websites and web services if a repeal happens.
  • The difference between Title I and Title II and how it affects this debate.
  • Why the lack of ISP competition makes this more than just a “free market” issue.
  • How a repeal would make it more difficult for startups to get off the ground.
  • Why a repeal of net neutrality would cement current tech giants at the top of the food chain.

Notable Quotes From Ryan Singel:

“The immediate effect is going to be on businesses and is going to hit them in the bottom line in ways that they aren’t going to understand.” – Singel on how a net neutrality repeal would impact businesses.

“This is a really bad plan for innovation.” -Singel explaining that a net neutrality repeal could remove the conditions that have allowed innovative startups to flourish in the past.

“Startups, especially in the B2B world, rely on a lot of other startups to run their business.”

“It looks like Mafia tactics.” – Singel discussing broadband companies’ current dealings with companies that rely on their internet services.

“Why repeal without replace? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Subscribe to B2B Revealed on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, or Stitcher.

Want more B2B brilliance? There are lots of ways to follow us.

Author information
Sean Campbell
CEO

Sean Campbell is the CEO of Cascade Insights, a competitive intelligence and market research firm for B2B technology companies. A 20-year technology veteran, Sean oversees the health of the firm, drives the company’s thought leadership efforts and maintains relationships with key clients.

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Large companies lose touch with their customers all the time.

Luckily, you can reconnect one conversation at a time.

Without investing in customer conversations, marketing will be off message, sales will say the wrong things, and product sales will suffer.

Virtually or in-person, have those conversations. It’s worth it.

In this episode of B2B Revealed, Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell and Tom Shoemaker, CMO of itslearning, explains why customer conversations should be at the center of your marketing efforts.

Don’t Let Your Marketing Be a Monotone. In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Key questions to ask during customer conversations.
  • Why you should double or triple the number of customer conversations you’re having.
  • Tips for adjusting your marketing strategy for enterprise and mid-market.
  • Warning signs that you’re taking your customers for granted.
  • The real-world strategy PTC used to effectively regain touch with their customers and build stronger relationships.
  • How to make a value roadmap and why it’s important.
  • Why aspiring marketers should strive to pass “The Beer Test.”

Notable Quotes:

“Don’t be afraid to raise your hand, jump in, and do what needs doing.” – Tom Shoemaker on maintaining career success.

“Regardless of how many customer conversations you have, you should probably have twice as many, or more.” – Tom Shoemaker discussing how to properly conduct customer satisfaction research.

“What are the things they care about, what are their drivers.”– Tom Shoemaker on focusing on the customer’s story.

“We systematically talked about the things that mattered throughout the process of going from design to manufacturing to service. Then we articulated the things that companies ought to be looking for in a technology provider.” – Tom Shoemaker explaining his company’s change in their outlook as a true process-oriented, customer-oriented and value-based selling, consultative selling B2B software company.

Subscribe to B2B Revealed on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, or Stitcher.

Want more B2B brilliance? There are lots of ways to follow us.

Author information
Sean Campbell
CEO

Sean Campbell is the CEO of Cascade Insights, a competitive intelligence and market research firm for B2B technology companies. A 20-year technology veteran, Sean oversees the health of the firm, drives the company’s thought leadership efforts and maintains relationships with key clients.

Read Full Article
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