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Brought to you by the authors of "The Death of Propaganda" and Three Voices™ strategy

How to lose a B2B sale in 4 ways… and how not to!

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Like all relationships between people, B2B relationships require trust and credibility to work.

In fact, we could liken a prospective B2B buyer to a sophisticated partner who is well-educated, has high expectations and is generally intolerant of mistakes. And like in all relationships, there are certain behaviours that strengthen bonds, and critical mistakes that turn people off.

Take your website, for example. In B2B, missteps can sow enough seeds of doubt in the minds of potential or existing customers to make them lose faith in your brand, question your professionalism, or simply click away from your site. Once you lose that credibility, it can be as hard to get back as convincing a cheated-on lover to trust you again. And the result of lost credibility? Lost sales.

So what can you do to make sure you hang onto B2B prospects?

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Get in the Habit of Consistently Creating Content With These 7 Steps

Get in the habit of consistent content

Habits don’t form overnight — especially the good ones. Just think about how long it took you to start flossing your teeth every day (and chances are you’re not all the way there yet). For the average person, it takes about 66 days for a behavior to become habitual, and even then, that’s doing it daily.

You can imagine how difficult it can be to get in the habit of creating content. Yet the benefits of doing so are numerous. Companies that blog at least 11 times a month get almost three times the traffic as those that blog only once a month. Content also contributes to three times more leads than online advertising.

If that isn’t enough motivation to pick up a content habit, I don’t know what is. Here are seven steps to jumpstart your efforts: Continue reading

The price of poor language

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Are you confusing your customers with second-rate English? For example, did your company recently win a price? Are your people competent, and (by implication) not skilled? Are your writers to your webpage loosing you credibility with spelling misstakes, joiningwordstogether and split ting others, or not using all the write words – making the text that little bit to hard too read?

We all make mistakes sometimes. Especially if we’re writing in a second language. But if your organization has put blood, sweat and tears into creating an innovative product or service that stands head and shoulders above anything else on the market, doesn’t it deserve high-quality promotion? Shouldn’t messaging about what you stand for and what you offer be communicated clearly and professionally? Continue reading

An organization with 8000 leaders

Durban's CBD

There’s nothing like being forced out of your comfort zone to give you new ideas and inspiration. And what better way than rapid immersion in not just another business environment, but another culture?

This was the opportunity I was given on a recent visit to South Africa together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Just a few hours after stepping off the long flight from Europe, we were released into Durban’s Central Business District. It’s a far cry from the sterile, grayscale business district of a northern European city. Colors and sounds line the pavements. People swarm over intersections, dodging the taxi vans, busses and occasional car. It’s an eclectic mix of cultures where urban dwellers dominate, but there are still plenty of people with obviously strong tribal roots.

For the next few hours, we explored the district, interacting with people to learn about their businesses and lives as best we could, sometimes in English, sometimes through an interpreter, and almost always with wild hand gestures. Continue reading

Inspire customer creativity with innovative case stories

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B2B customer case stories follow a fairly simple format of explaining how a product or service solved a specific customer pain. But they don’t necessarily communicate that a company is innovative, or encourage customers to innovate with them. Yet there are good reasons why a repertoire of innovation-focused stories can draw in new customers or stimulate new ideas among existing ones. So why not use them to inspire innovation?

Showcasing novelty

Today’s markets are increasingly demanding evolution, not just adequate performance. And employees are being encouraged to seek out opportunities for incremental or radical innovation. In response, businesses could take the opportunity to highlight case stories about creativity involving their products or services. Continue reading

Lessons in leadership from the savannah

African-sunrise

I had the privilege of spending four days in the South African bush recently. The occasion was a leadership development course together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Although the purpose wasn’t leisure, for me as a wildlife junkie, there are certainly worse things to do than spend three hours a day on safari!

The course was facilitated by Pete, Mick and Steve from Leading with Humanity. Their mission was to force us to reflect on leadership in business through the power of nature. They knew we’d be put way outside of our comfort zones; that we would feel vulnerable and insecure. And they loved it!

But it’s not only the boundary-breaking exercises that make you take a close look at leadership behaviour. Even more telling was the immersion in nature. Witnessing the wild’s dilemmas first hand is a transcendental experience that reveals an honest reality. The competitive coexistence of the vast array of species in the bush is a worthy aspiration for all walks of life. Learning from it will surely benefit any leader’s performance. Continue reading

Telling B2B stories: Mention the war!

Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, British comedian John Cleese owes a small part of his fame to the phrase: “Don’t mention the war”. And I’m reminded of that phrase every time I hear a B2B marketing or communication department agonizing over what should or shouldn’t be said in the public arena.

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No shortcuts in B2B marketing

Impressive sign

Recently, while visiting one of our customers in the UK, I saw a fascinating sign on a building next door to the customer’s own offices. I was struck by the boldness of the claim – particularly given how unimpressive the sign’s visual idea and execution was. The effect, in my mind, was to create something academics call cognitive dissonance. And that’s a certain something many B2B companies do all too often.

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Inside SAP’s Customer Loyalty program

Inside SAP's customer loyalty program

SAP’s Mette Tang seemed relaxed and well-prepared as she addressed an expectant audience at one of our Think International seminars on November, 2014. In her role as Customer Experience Director for enterprise software giant SAP’s Customer Office EMEA, Mette is responsible for a customer loyalty program that leaves most other programs far behind in terms of maturity and sophistication. Her presentation was aimed at describing the SAP Listens program both as it is today and where things may lead in the future.

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Which channels work for B2B lead generation?

Lead generation

Choosing which channels to bet on is something that, quite literally, keeps many marketing and communication professionals awake at night. US-based Software Advice, an online marketing software broker with access to thousands of B2B buyers around the world, has recently published its annual B2B Demand Generation Benchmark report. The report surveyed 200 business-to-business (B2B) marketing professionals in order to understand which channels, offers, content types and technologies they were using to fuel their demand generation programs—and which they found most effective. Continue reading