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B2B marketers commit these statistics crimes all too often. Here's how to stay on the right side of the law for mathematics and content marketing.

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Isabel Gautschi
Director of Messaging

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.

The post Statistics Crimes for B2B Marketing appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Trust in B2B sales is eroding. B2B buyers are increasingly looking towards third-party sites and influencers for reviews. Additionally, many tech companies’ sales and support teams are not set up for success in building long-term trust with buyers.

But there is hope. Radical transparency is key to rebuilding trust in B2B sales. According to guest expert Todd Caponi, radical transparency can qualify deals more quickly, shorten sales cycles, improve win rates, and keep customers happier.

Caponi is the author of “The Transparency Sale: How Unexpected Honesty and Understanding the Buying Brain Can Transform Your Results.” As the founder of Sales Melon LLC, he is also a B2B sales keynote speaker, workshop leader, and trainer.

In this episode of the B2B Revealed Podcast, Caponi shares tactics for building trust with buyers and ensuring mutual success.

In This Episode:

● How transparency can improve win rates, shorten sales cycles, and qualify deals more quickly.
● Why it’s important to let buyers know what you don’t do.
● A negotiation strategy that actually builds trust.
● How to build trust through a sales cycle and beyond.
● The importance of overcommunicating after a contract has been signed.
● How to use the right levers, in the right way, to give your buyers purchasing choices.
● Why certainty is so essential for building trust with your buyers.
● Why it’s important to tailor your pitches for each customer and their unique needs.

To listen to this interview on your phone, visit the B2B Revealed podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

As always, we’d love for you to take a minute to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And, if you have any feedback (or would like to work with us on a podcast of your own), you can reach us at hello@cascadeinsights.com.

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Brian Surguine
|

The post The Transparent Seller appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Open floor plans. Coffee bars. Green walls. Trendy offices abound in the tech world, but do you know if your office is actually promoting productivity?

Kristin Kelsey, an expert on modern office design and Architecture and Design Lead at Herman Miller, joins the show today to share her ideas on what makes a great office.

Kristin is passionate about shaping offices for the work that happens within them. By observing how people work and interact, spaces can be created to facilitate these activities as well as office culture. She provides great insight into why your office looks like it does today, and where it’s headed in the future. Kristin also discusses biophilic design, the “third space,” and an array of positive and negative trends in office design throughout the years.

In This Episode:

• How office design paradigms shifted throughout the 20th century, and why.
• The rise of the “action office” and how it impacted modern office design.
• Kristin’s take on the limited amount of square footage employees receive today for office space.
• Considerations that go into designing communal spaces in an office environment.
• How what were once dead spaces have become “third spaces” for meetings, work, and interactions.
• Why trends such as biophilic design ultimately must flow from careful observation of how people actually work.
• How office design can reflect a company’s culture and values.

Resources

Kristin’s LinkedIn page
Kristin’s recommended reading on the history of office design: The Office on the Grass

The B2B Revealed Podcast is brought to you by Cascade Insights, a hybrid market research & marketing firm specializing in the B2B tech sector. Subscribe to the podcast to keep up with the most pressing issues facing marketers in the B2B tech sector.

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Brian Surguine
|

The post Offices For Humans appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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In this episode, we discuss how Brexit will impact the world of B2B with Martina Bozadzhieva, market research Europe expert at DuckerFrontier. Bozadzhieva’s expertise comes from direct experience navigating business dynamics in the turbulent European market. You’ll definitely want to listen if you do business in the UK, France, or Germany.

In This Episode:
  • Current business trends and challenges in the UK.
  • The companies set to benefit the most with a “hard” Brexit.
  • Unique EU regulations that impact B2B businesses.
  • Germany’s current economic state and unique aspects of doing business in Germany.
  • Business challenges and opportunities in France.
  • Differences in communication styles between the UK, France, and Germany.
  • Advice for country managers who are moving from corporate to another country, including how they can best interact with corporate.
Resources:

The B2B Revealed Podcast is brought to you by Cascade Insights, a hybrid market research & marketing firm specializing in the B2B tech sector. Subscribe to the podcast to keep up with the most pressing issues facing marketers in the B2B tech sector. 

Author information
Brian Surguine
|

The post Going Beyond Brexit: Doing Business in the UK, France, and Germany appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Improving win rates is within your control. After many B2B win-loss analysis research projects, we have found that simple adjustments can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your sales team.

Largely, it comes down to ensuring your sales team has the time, tools, and training to do their jobs. Sadly, this is all too rare in the world of B2B tech.

We recently hosted four B2B sales experts on the B2B Revealed Podcast to learn what B2B sales teams really need to do their jobs well. Check out the episodes and summaries below.

Unburden Your B2B Sales Managers

Are your sales managers trying to do too much?

Sales managers have one of the most difficult jobs in your company. Mike Weinberg, a new business development and sales management specialist, shares that all too often sales managers are given a job that induces schizophrenia.

The “New Sales, Simplified” author explains that a combined emphasis on personal sales productivity and sales management often generates opposing demands that cannot be easily met by a single person. In addition, these opposing demands may require opposing temperaments. Does a sales call trump a team meeting? Who gets to take ownership of the lucrative opportunity? Can compromised sales managers conduct an objective win-loss analysis of themselves?

Effective sales managers should be supportive, freed up to attend to their sales reps’ needs, and providing mentorship where needed. Conversely, a sales manager competing for sales with his or her own team can quickly destroy morale. Worse still, this manager may not be effectively addressing the team’s demands.

A better strategy gives sales managers freedom to orchestrate an effective selling process and lead their teams well, unburdened by conflicting tasks, roles, or responsibilities.

Hone Your Hiring

Does your win-loss analysis extend to your hiring practices? If you find that your inside sales team is experiencing a high attrition rate, you may need to rethink how you hire.

Trish Bertuzzi, author of “The Sales Development Playbook,” dropped by the B2B Revealed Podcast to share some tips for how to hire and train B2B sales development representatives (SDRs) for success. Bertuzzi is the founder and CEO of The Bridge Group, a B2B inside sales consulting firm with a global tech client base.

Bertuzzi explains that SDRs need to be:

  • Articulate.
  • Organized.
  • Good writers.
  • Curious.
  • Tenacious.

However, candidates are often young and inexperienced. They can benefit from spending a day with your team listening to unfiltered feedback so they can understand what the role actually entails. Yes, this may scare a fair number off. But you’ll know that the ones who stay really want to be there and aren’t intimidated by the requirements of the role.

However, hiring talent and retaining it are two very different things. Bertuzzi explains that companies should carefully consider how to get high-performing SDRs to stick around.

Traditionally, high-performing SDRs aspire for lofty promotions to “account executive” roles. Sometimes, this is just too big of a leap for green sales reps. But there’s no use letting sales reps with potential stagnate either. Laying out a structured growth path with “micro-promotions” can help your SDRs acquire important skills.

Hit the Phones Like You Hit the Gym: Regularly

In recent years, we’ve witnessed the propagation of a seemingly endless array of sales tools promising to improve win rate.

And yet, Sales Gravy Founder Jeb Blount believes the most effective sales tool of all is the trusty old phone. The “Fanatical Prospecting” author explains that the phone is quicker than physically traveling to meet with prospects and it’s more human than the web-based tools we tend to obsess over.

However, the idea of developing a prospecting pipeline using the phone might induce fits of anxiety in your sales reps. It’s not hard to understand why. A cold call is effectively an interruption of someone’s day, and that person is likely to respond accordingly. But as humans, we are biologically wired to handle rejection poorly. It’s healthy to acknowledge this fear of rejection and develop strategies to maximize opportunities and reduce rejection rates.

Blount advises, “Be brief, be bright, be gone.” For example, use the prospecting call as an opportunity to ask for the next meeting or the next step in the sales process, instead of going through the entire sales pitch in a single phone call.

To improve your win-loss analysis outcomes, you should observe the Law of Replacement: replace prospects in your pipeline at a rate that equals or exceeds your closing ratio. Above all, this means making a regular practice of using your phone.

Great Questions Lead to Great Sales

Human connection goes a long way for boosting B2B sales.

Mark Hunter, author of “High Profit Prospecting” and sales prospecting expert, recommends beginning a prospecting call with a great question, seeking conversation rather than just presenting, and letting your personality shine through. Tip the scales your way by doing a little homework beforehand to understand who your prospects are and how they like to be approached.

You may not be the only one asking questions. A prospect is engaged if he or she asks you for more information. This is your permission to dive into your “mini-capabilities” talk.

Great questions can also lead you to great leads. In a conversation with a satisfied customer, asking “who else do you think would benefit?” can be a simple but effective way of obtaining high-quality leads.

Ultimately, it’s the subtle cues that lead on the prospecting dance floor. Learn to listen for them, and you might find yourself doing a victory dance.

The B2B Revealed Podcast is brought to you by Cascade Insights, a hybrid market research and marketing firm specializing in the B2B tech sector. Need perspective on lost deals? Check out our Win-Loss Analysis research services.

Author information
Brian Surguine
|

The post Win-Loss Analysis: Is Your Sales Team Set Up To Succeed? appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Melissa Agnes joins the show today. Melissa is the author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World. She is also a celebrated keynote speaker, a crisis management strategist, and an expert in mitigating risks in organizations.

Melissa shares the key components of proper crisis management.  She also highlights the importance of clear communication, transparency, and honesty in the midst of high-stress situations. From Melissa you can learn the right steps to take that will help you handle a crisis situation.

In this Episode

  • A discussion about honesty and transparency during a crisis.
  • The difference between an issue and a crisis.
  • What customers and clients expect in a crisis.
  • How these same expectations have evolved over the past few years.
  • How to communicate to the public in an effective way after a crisis.
  • Why the press release is dead.
  • A discussion on self-inflicted, individual crises that affect a company’s brand and future.

Resources

To listen to this interview on your phone, visit the B2B Revealed podcast on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

As always, we’d love for you to take a minute to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And, if you have any feedback (or would like to work with us on a podcast of your own), you can reach us at hello@cascadeinsights.com.

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.

The post Crisis Ready Preppers appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Applying a B2C approach to B2B brand research just doesn’t work.

With B2C, it’s of utmost importance to make sure that general awareness of the brand is really high. (Think product placement for Coca-Cola on movies and TV, billboards, etc.)

But with B2B, it’s much more important to make sure the right people are aware of the brand. Often, it doesn’t matter whether the general population is aware of a B2B product or service. Only a handful of very specific professionals would ever use the solution anyway.

For example, many B2B tech companies are barely known outside of the B2B world but bring in billions of dollars. ServiceNow, for instance, made nearly $2 billion in revenue last year, but your average non-tech-industry Joe has probably never even heard of the company. But non-tech Joe doesn’t need to have heard of it since he would never be a potential buyer. It only really matters whether Director of Customer Support Joe and Director of Internal Support Jane know about ServiceNow solutions and have a good perception of them.

For that reason, B2B brand studies shouldn’t overemphasize the awareness stage, unless we’re talking about awareness within the target audience.

B2B Brand Research Should Explain Why Awareness Doesn’t Lead to Usage

In any case, it is very important for B2B brand research to explore why awareness isn’t leading to consideration and usage.

Are target buyers aware of your product but not considering it? Why? Perhaps customers think your solution has far more features than they actually need- and a much higher price tag than they wanted.

Are potential buyers considering your product, but predominantly going with a competing solution? Perhaps competitors have better messaging around ease-of-use and quick Time to Value.

B2B brand studies need to determine the “why” behind dips in the Awareness, Consideration, Usage, and Advocacy graph.

In order to do that, researchers have to ask the right questions of the right people.

Right People: Talk to the Most Influential B2B Buyer Personas

Awareness and consideration are often driven by personas most research firms would never dream of recruiting (to the detriment of their studies).

Many of our clients get really excited at the prospect of surveying the C-suite. But C-levels probably aren’t Googling and evaluating vendors.

B2B brand researchers should broaden their focus beyond the people approving the expense and signing the purchase order. They need to talk to everyone who has a role in finding and narrowing the list of potential vendors and solutions.

B2B buying (especially at the mid-market and enterprise level) is a group decision, never an individual impulse. Remember, an average of 6.8 people are involved in a B2B purchase.

Before launching a B2B brand study, make sure you have clarity around the buyer personas involved in finding and narrowing the vendor list. Know who holds the most sway over the buying decision and who has veto power.

It’s also important to understand that stakeholders will be evaluating the solution from different angles. Some B2B buyers will be most concerned with user adoption, others will care more about increased productivity. Others’ top priority may be integration with other systems or security, impact on revenue, etc.

Right Questions: Qual Before Quant

Many market research firms make the mistake of diving right into an expansive (and often expensive!) quantitative B2B brand study.

Unless you really know your buyers, it’s important to do some qualitative discovery to ensure that your quantitative research covers all the important bases.

Upfront qualitative B2B research will tease out some of the rumors, concerns, or perceptions that buyers have about your product that you may not have been aware of. It can also tell you what criteria buying decisions actually turn on.

For example, in an initial in-depth interview (IDI), say a supply chain manager tells you they went with a competing product because they thought your solution had far more features than they actually needed. They also thought your solution would be difficult to train staff on. Before that conversation, perhaps you would have thought only to survey buyers about pricing concerns or would have assumed that “the most features” must be a positive perception. A survey built on these assumptions could lead you astray.

After that IDI, you would know to include questions not just about what attributes customers associate with which brand, but what attributes they actually look for when making a purchase. Further, you might design your survey to discover segments that care about different things, thereby letting you develop marketing campaigns with the right messaging for the right segments.

So, do your homework. Schedule some in-depth interview with target buyers before designing the larger quantitative B2B survey. Otherwise, you won’t know the right questions to ask in the quantitative B2B research phase or the important context for interpreting the responses.

Ask Follow-Up Questions To Illuminate B2B Buyers’ Perception of the Competitive Landscape

Skilled interviewers know they can’t just ask the basics in preliminary in-depth interviews (IDIs) for B2B brand studies.

Of course, interviewers should ask:

  • Do you know of this brand? What products/services do you think of with it?
  • Would you consider using them? What do you think they’re best suited for?
  • What are you using now? Would you consider switching?

But follow up questions are also necessary to figure out the reasons behind any lack of awareness, consideration, or usage.

At Cascade Insights, here are some typical questions we ask during IDIs with B2B buyers before proceeding on to the larger brand study:

  • What companies are you aware of in this space?
  • How do you think about Company X? What’s your impression?
  • What do you think the industry thinks of Company X?
  • If you were the CEO of Company X, what would you be doing to improve it now?
  • What words would you use to describe Company A, Company B, Company C, and Company X?
  • Which company do you associate with innovation? What about High Quality? Great Customer Support?
  • Rank Company A, Company B, Company C, and Company X in order of how you perceive their cost.
  • Which company would you feel the safest doing business with? Which company do you view as the riskiest?
  • What positive and negative experiences have you had with any of these companies?
  • Who has market momentum among major industry players? Among upstarts?
  • What’s the best thing about Company X that they don’t seem to know yet? What should they be capitalizing on but aren’t?
  • What’s your sense for the industry direction of X technology/business problem/etc.?

The answers we get to these questions illuminate subjects that should be probed during the quantitative phase of B2B brand research.

B2B Brand Research Hinges on IDIs

B2B brand studies should do much more than just tell you what percentage of your buyers know about your solution, have thought about buying it, and are using it currently.

At the end of the study, you should be confident that you included all the options that are relevant to buyers and have clear directives for adjusting your marketing, product, or sales strategy to bump more of your target buyers into usage and advocacy.

For that to be possible, your market research team needs enough context to ask the right questions of the right people.

So, don’t skip qual.

Cascade Insights conducts B2B Brand Research for the B2B technology sector. We work with everyone from enterprise tech stalwarts to up-and-comers in fields such as FinTech, MarTech, Health Tech, and more.

Special thanks to President & CTO Scott Swigart, CEO Sean Campbell, and Director of Systems Design Philippe Boutros for advising on this piece. 

Author information
Isabel Gautschi
Director of Messaging

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.

The post B2B Brand Research: Don’t Skip the Qual appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Kevin Kruse, the author of Great Leaders Have No Rules, join the B2B Revealed podcast to discuss why rule-based leadership leads to failure. Importantly, Kevin bases this key insight on over 200 interviews with well-known business leaders across a range of disciplines.  Based on these conversations Kevin has distilled 10 key insights that any leader can use to build a culture that is based on trust vs. mere rule following.

In This Episode

  • How every “got a minute” request kills productivity across your company.
  • Why rules disengage 99% of your employees to reduce risk from 1% of your employees.
  • Why being likable is more important than being liked as a leader.
  • The difference between favoritism and focusing on your higher achieving team members.
  • All leaders are role models whether they want to be or not.
  • The importance of having a framework that empowers decision making vs. mere rule setting.
  • Why principles tend to beat out process in business.

Resources

To listen to this interview on your phone, visit the B2B Revealed podcast on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

As always, we’d love for you to take a minute to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And, if you have any feedback (or would like to work with us on a podcast of your own), you can reach us at hello@cascadeinsights.com.

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.

The post Have No Rules appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Today’s subject is the future of Connected Health, based on a conversation with author and TEDx speaker, Dr. Joe Kvedar.

Dr. Kvedar takes us through the current state of Connected Health in this episode. We cover some of the fascinating technology integrations out there today, an array of unique startups, and some of the regulation and compliance issues that are hindering Connected Health solutions.

In This Episode

  • Why the Healthspan is so much shorter than the Lifespan
  • How a variety of Connected Health startups are helping to lengthen the Healthspan
  • Policy and Regulations that challenge the growth of Connected Health solutions and startups.
  • How technology is being used in the world of Connected Health from Voice Analytics to Biomarkers.
  • The Future of Connected Health solutions and their impact on the Healthspan

To listen to this interview on your phone, visit the B2B Revealed show in Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

As always, we’d love for you to take a minute to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And, if you have any feedback (or would like to work with us on a podcast of your own), you can reach us at hello@cascadeinsights.com.

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.

The post The Future of Connected Health appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Rand Fishkin, the author of “Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World” joins the show today. Rand’s book is a clear and authentic view of the pain and opportunity all startup founders face.

Rand reminds us that “first-time founders, like first-time gamers, die on the first level.” Rand’s wise advice can help any kind of founder (startup, product, or team lead) get past that first level.

In This Episode

  • Rand’s story of transitioning from services to product offerings.
  • The importance of expectation setting. At a company and personal level.
  • Why Growth Hacks are a horrible idea.
  • The importance of Radical Candor
  • Why Rand thinks Minimally Viable Products (MVP) are a bad idea and what you should do instead.

To listen to this interview on your phone, visit the B2B Revealed show in Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

As always, we’d love for you to take a minute to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And, if you have any feedback (or would like to work with us on a podcast of your own), you can reach us at hello@cascadeinsights.com.

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.

The post Lost and Founder appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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