Recently, our own David Fortino was lucky enough to be invited onto a number of podcasts to talk about NetLine’s 2021 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report for Marketers.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be breaking down a few of the most interesting takeaways from each episode so that you can get the most out of each conversation. We’ll go in order of release, starting with In Pursuit of Growth.
Why Content Marketing and Sales Enablement are Tied at the Hip
Being one of the first guests on a brand new podcast is quite an honor. Hosted by the spectacular Alice Heiman, Modus’s In Pursuit of Growth debuted in the Spring of 2021 and is a monthly show focused on getting businesses to drive more sales. As Alice describes it, the podcast is all about, “really helping our sales teams win,” and she does her best to make sure that each episode delivers actionable pieces of information that ultimately provide sales enablement—whether that’s through Sales, Marketing, or (ideally) a combination of the two.
While Dave was invited onto the show to talk about our report, he and Alice touched on a variety of topics from content insights to arming sales with content to keep buyers engaged throughout their journey. Let’s dig into some of the highlights.
What Your Content Needs to Intrigue Your Audience
In the first part of the interview, David shared how the original idea for our annual Content Consumption Report was all about trying to elevate our position in the market.
“We wanted to use content to not create thought leadership pieces, which everybody, I think collectively loves to throw around and as if it just miraculously occurs and every executive is just a perfect thought leader,” David said. “So we thought, “well, being in the business that we’re in, why not let that data do the talking instead of us? Why don’t we create content that’s actually the front and center voice for the brand?”
Since introducing the report in 2016, NetLine has been able to lead with value, which has enabled our Sales team to take little snippets of data and capture the attention of the people that they’re reaching out to. As David continued, he stressed that the ability to isolate the best snippets for each target is what has truly been the most successful element of each report.
“It’s really about distilling key nuggets to capture attention and intrigue that will then compel a dialogue,” David said.
Alice jumped all over that idea.”Oh, right there, let’s just repeat that: Capture their attention, engage them, and create intrigue.”
Alice continued along this line of thinking, talking about how just sending another email or making another phone call, or sending another LinkedIn request isn’t working. “You get such a small percent return because you don’t really have anything that’s intriguing. If you want people to be interested, you have to be interesting.”
Feed the Sales Team
“Our marketing teams aren’t feeding the salespeople enough things that make them interesting.” This is one of Alice’s pillars of focus on the podcast and is something she got into right away with David. She made the connection of how fishermen need to use the right bait to attract the ideal fish.
“I’m not a fisherman per se, but my dad is so the bait part is really the key,” David said. “There’s specific types of bait that use for specific types of fish, and so, if you’re going to market saying, “Well, this is some amazing bait and we’re trying to catch mackerel today,” but it turns out tuna only bite that bait, that’s a problem and you’ll be out there all day.”
David shares how NetLine has continued to rework the static report for Sales to slice and dice in whichever way they need to effectively repurpose and atomize, however, they see fit. (One of the best ways that we’ve done this is through Audience Explorer, where Marketers from nearly any B2B industry can pull up-to-date snippets of data that makes sense for them.)
The other part of feeding your Sales team with strong, relevant data points is allowing yourself to get out of the way. “As a marketing team, and I’ve been guilty of this in the past, you consistently always want to control [every element of the brand] voice,” David said. “[But the real goal is to have everyone] abide by a general framework which is not only compelling with our prospects but also drives engagement with our own team because they feel like they’re empowered.”
Quality Instead of Quantity
Take a look at your inbox. If you were to take a guess, what percentage of messages do you get every day that are follow-ups to emails you’ll never respond to? The answer is probably much higher than we really want to admit.
This is an issue that is plaguing marketing across every vertical. While a good deal of lip service is given to being personalized and staying within a given niche, organizations still love to talk about volume. “In order to reach our numbers, we need to have this many sends, meaning that we need to have X number of cold outreach emails.” It’s a painful reality we all deal with…and Alice and David are tired of it.
“Quantity instead of quality is hard,” Alice said. “Here I am with my tool that sends out messages as a salesperson—even though marketing is sending out their own set of messages—and maybe my sequence has eight or 12 touches in it I loaded into my flow. And then it tells me what they interacted with on LinkedIn and then it tells me to try to call them again, and then it sends the next message, and then it sends the next message,” and on and on.
Essentially, we get so wrapped up in the machinery of the marketing that we forget about what the marketing is trying to accomplish. “It’s a huge hurdle for anyone in the revenue side of the organization to get past because, quite honestly,” David said, “and this is terrible to say this, but I don’t think that they believe that their teams are capable of [isolating which content and which messaging is right for a given prospect or customer].”
As Alice points out, the sales cycle has only gotten longer in recent years—a trend we certainly expect to continue extending—with more people in the Buying Committee making decisions that are more and more complex. But even with this complexity comes a return to the basics: understanding what it is that your prospects need. And how do we discover what those needs are (beyond your initial research and intent discovery data)? Quality conversations.
“We want to have quality conversations every day,” Alice said, “and that’s what I want CEOs to start asking their sales leaders: Are your salespeople having quality conversations? Let’s enable them to do that, and get back to earning the attention of the people they want to talk to.”
Listen to the Episode
These three highlights are just a taste of what Alice and David dove into during their conversation. We really loved the Sales-centric approach that Alice took to the report and how many new insights she ultimately sussed out of David. It’s truly a must-listen podcast for anyone who is interested in how content can better facilitate sales enablement.
Get comfortable and listen to episode four of In Pursuit of Growth!