Online Video Training Can Make Contractors Be More Productive

February 4, 2015

From a manufacturing point of view, it’s in your best interest to train contractors on the best way to install your product. It eliminates call backs and helps contractors sell more of your stuff. No surprise there, but with sales forces that are stretched thin, now they can only do so much training. Where do they focus their efforts – on the distributor’s sales force or on the end user?

The answer is use online training for both.

  • You can train distributor sales on new products, not only on features and benefits, but also on where/when they should be used. There are several eLearning options out there that can test them after to make sure they got the point.
  • You can train contractors on new products/processes and installation tips.
  • Online lets them take the course on their timeline, not yours.

Both distributors and contractors want to get the most out of both employees as well as opportunities, so you’re better off arming them with the right info.

  • According to the American Society of Training and Development, companies that spend $1,500 or more per employee average a profit margin 24% higher than those who don’t invest in their employees.
  • Deloitte reports that 18% of all training is now on smartphones.
  • Cisco’s VNI Global IP traffic and service adoption forecasts that by 2018, 79% of all internet traffic will be videos.

If you like this post, you might want to read:

Do You Have a B-to-B Video Strategy?

Manufacturers: Are You Missing out on Video Opportunities?

B-to-B Video is on the Rise: Are You Taking Advantage?


Email Marketing: Still a top performer

January 27, 2015

Do you know that the average office worker checks their email 30 times an hour? Can you imagine what the stats are for contractors out in the field?

The point is that emails are very acceptable ways of communicating with each other. The key is to have relevant and timely info for your prospect.

Heidi Cohen gives us several reasons why email trumps social media:

  • Email provides directly measurable ROI – You know immediately how many opened and read your message.
  • Email is content format agnostic  It’s user-friendly and you can use text, images, videos, audio, PDFs.
  • Email can deliver both long and short content – Content can vary from a link to several pages in length.
  • Emails you can control delivery – Whether it’s now or delayed.
  • Emails can be read on anything – Smart phones, tablets, laptops, no apps required.
  • Emails build customer relationships – Once someone allows you to communicate with them, it represents a certain level of trust.

So since you have such a powerful tool, we need to make sure we’re using it correctly to get the best bang for the buck. eMarketer, in a recent article, stated that we all should get ready for more personalized emails and companies plan on spending more money to accomplish this.

These triggered and transactional emails can be part of a nurturing campaign. The key is getting the right message in the hands of the right people at the right time. You need to ask the right questions to see where they are in the sales funnel so you can address that immediate need.

If we use and target emails correctly, whether you’re going after a contractor or a plant manager, the result improves with the more segmenting you can do. So do your homework and take advantage of a great marketing tool.


Why PR Should be a Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

January 21, 2015

Everyone today is so focused on Content Marketing that they may overlook an old standby, PR, that could help in getting that all-important content out there. Content marketing drives long-term thought leadership goals. PR can help you short-term to meeting these objectives. After all, both disciplines are working toward the same goals.

Here are a few reasons to use PR in conjunction with your content marketing program:

  • PR builds corporate credibility  Foster good relationships with key editors in your field and let them tell your story.
  • PR increases brand awareness – Use your new content to attract focused audiences and new leads.
  • PR makes your content team focus on your public – Instead of selling features and benefits, use fresh insights and angles on how others have solved similar problems. Be relevant and timely on issues.

If you like this post you might like:

8 Tips for Media Interviews

The Scary Side of PR


Landing Page Tips

January 13, 2015

Hopefully, as part of your strategy to move prospects along the selling cycle, you are using landing pages in order to deliver on what you promised. It’s also a great way to track responses. It could also be a way of losing a potential customer.

Here are some tips that might help results:

  • Keep it simple – Deliver on what you promised to get them there in the first place.
  • It’s not about you – How can you help them with a problem that got them there in the first place.
  • This is not an ad – They’re not looking for a sales pitch, but answers to specific questions.
  • Powerful content – Keep it relevant. Don’t focus on key words. Instead, make what you say useful and valuable.

Copybloggers infographic gives you some great pointers.

abcs-of-landing-pages-that-work-infographic

 

 

 

 

 


New Years Resolution: Get back to the basics

January 7, 2015

It’s a new year, and before we start doing the same old thing, we should take a minute to make sure what we’re doing is getting us the results we want. Makes sense, doesn’t it? We do it in our personal lives this time of year.

I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen that did just that. Here are some highlights:

  • Document your content marketing strategy – only 35% have a written plan that they can share with their team.
  • Know who you’re talking to – create personas to reach each of your targeted audiences.
  • Get other employees involved – both in creating and distributing content.
  • Expand your visual content – people like pictures and there are several options to help you deliver them.
  • Incorporate video into the mix – next to Google, YouTube is the most searched. Show your prospects why your product is better.
  • Get your audiences involved – ask them to share images or rate your product.

Heidi has others, but the point is, take a few minutes to evaluate what you did last year and improve on it this year. Make 2015 a good one.


8 Tips on Generating High Quality B-to-B Leads

December 10, 2014

Let’s face it, in your world, qualified leads are or should be the holy grail of marketing. According to a report by Marketing Sherpa, 78% of B2B marketers biggest challenge is generating qualified leads.

Here are some tips on how you can improve your process:

  1. Create a plan – that will include message, method of delivery, when to hand lead to sales and measuring ROI.
  2. Define your USP – What is your unique selling proposition? What makes you or your offer different from the competition?
  3. Offer them something of value for free – If you want them to start an engagement, you need to show some good faith and give them a tool they can use everyday (conversation chart, smart phone button, competitive parts interchange).
  4. Match the offer to the audience – Not all messages are for all audiences. A concrete tool offer to a HVAC contractor probably won’t get much return.
  5. Capture and nurture leads – Once you get a lead, there has to be some qualifications done before sending it to sales. We’re not trying to overload the sales department with leads, rather we want to give them qualified leads that they are excited about calling on.
  6. Handing off the lead to sales – Depending on the criteria that you’ve developed, you need to forward the lead and what you know about it (in the sales funnel) so when sales calls on them, they know what to talk about, i.e., initial evaluation stages, engineering comparison questions or ready-to-buy type of questions.
  7. Close the loop on the lead – Did they buy? If not, why? This should be documented in a CRM system so we know why you’re gaining or losing sales.
  8. Review performance – Repeat what’s working and stop what isn’t.

Are You Still Pitching or Are You Starting a Conversation?

December 2, 2014

I’m still amazed by the number of folks who are still trying to sell me something instead of trying to solve my problem. I think it’s because they are struggling with their story and finding the right voice to tell it on. The old school model of glad handling and feature benefit selling has gone by the wayside for the most part.

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Let’s face it none of us wants to be sold. We want to have a conversation. Humans, by nature, are social by design and want to interact with others. Interaction is a two-way street where both parties are part of the conversation. It’s not grabbing attention, but earning and holding attention.

How do we do this? By acting and speaking HUMAN. Storytelling is an essential human activity and must be a vital part of your strategy.

I recently read an article in Chief Content Officer magazine by Kevin Lund and Eileen Sutton that talks about speaking human and gives us some tips on how to be successful at it.

Here are some highlights:

  • Be Clear – No marketing speak. Use plain English with no jargon and more heart.
  • Be Helpful – Be relevant to a specific issue. Show them how you add value.
  • Be Concise – Keep it to the point. Less is better.
  • Be Consistent – Use the same voice and tone throughout all channels.

If you can figure out how to make life easier for your customer, everyone wins.


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