Tag Archives: B2B

How to ensure more productive meetings in 2012

Lots of companies and marketing and sales teams are busy pulling together their master plans for the coming year. Often this means lots of onsite and offsite meetings. Meetings get a bad rap in business because people use them to avoid work, avoid decisions and to look busy.

In the spirit of starting the new year with a bang and doing things differently (better even) in your workplace, try giving some thought to the meetings you host and participate in.

As a host:

1. What decisions can be made without the need for a meeting? Email, file sharing, web and video conference can all be used to bring ideas to life with micro teams managing different project elements.

2. How can you manage expectation, secure the best input and minimise conflict – all in the shortest time? By being prepared. Expansive agendas and pre-reading usually assist this, but how many meeting hosts actually take the time to do this thoughtfully with the end goal in mind?

3. How critical is it that all the people involved need to be there in the room? Consider who makes decisions, who influences them and who is a ‘nice to have’. (Every person in one of your meetings for one hour is costing you two hours of productivity).

4. What tactics can you employ to keep the meeting short and on point? Think about employing pre-reading and preparation, detailed agendas, firm timekeeping, different venues, removal of chairs, tables, laptops and screens, removal of snacks, drinks, burst brainstorms and action focused takeaways.

5. What is needed after the meeting to ensure that decisions made are actioned? As the host you need to decide, and if necessary obtain buy-in from meeting participants to support you. At the very least, they should be kept up-to-date as a courtesy.

As a participant:

6. Can you be bold in fielding meeting requests and demand more from the host? Reduce the amount of time lost to meetings by being a little stricter with your time, for example by stringently focusing on the positive/negative impact on project delivery?

7. Can you add value? Establish quickly if it is a meeting you can add value to. There is no point attending to ‘hear it first hand’. That’s dead time.

8. Do you understand what is expected of you? If not, ask. If the host can’t tell you, politely decline. If you don’t have time to prepare, politely decline.

9. What is your involvement after the meeting? If you don’t get a definitive picture on this before you commit, the chances are you’ll have a whole load of work to do afterwards.

10. What’s in it for you long term? What are you going to get out of being involved?

Summary:

Sure, face-to-face contact is critical but in 2012, more than any other recent year, time is money. How are you going to ensure you keep projects moving forward, keep teams engaged and keep clients and customers happy without spending too  much time in unproductive meetings? Share your ideas below.

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Six examples of how to use Facebook company pages for B2B marketing

I’m writing regularly over at SmartInsights. It is a great digital marketing blog with lots of collaboraters covering lots of urgent topics.

There is a real lack of good quality information online about B2B use of Facebook as the debate rages about its relevance.

Across two posts over recent weeks, I wanted to outline the emerging and evolving case for adding Facebook to your B2B marketing arsenal. And I wanted to offer some advice on the type of strategies you might adopt. In the second post which went live earlier this week, I identified a number of current B2B companies using Facebook to drive engagement and promote their business.

Q: How is Facebook working for you?

Five ways to integrate compelling video into your B2B marketing

My latest post as expert B2B marketing contributor on Dave Chaffey’s excellent Smart Insights blog went live today.

 

Video is an incredibly powerful way of bringing a product, brand or company to life and really positioning features, benefits and personality that can’t be conveyed using static media.

But, companies need to avoid gimmicks if they are to be seen as credible. The post offers five ideas for developing engaging video and offers five examples of businesses that have used them.

SmartInsights is fast becoming a ‘go-to’ digital marketing resource for marketers and business owners at every level of digital confidence. 50,000 unique visitors hit the website every month, 10,000 are subscribed to the weekly email newsletter, 1,650 follow on Facebook, 1,200 are members of the Linkedin group and 2,400 follow via Twitter. Bookmark the site now sign up for the weekly email by clicking through here.

Why email still matters in b2b marketing

My second post as b2b digital marketing expert commentator has gone live at SmartInsights.

 

Email may well be in terminal decline with the next generation of business professionals more likely to rely on SMS and social network messaging if recent research is to believed.

Yet, most B2B companies still use email-based newsletters as a primary way of attempting to communicate with and engaging customers and prospects.

Find out how you can still make email work for your business by clicking through.

SmartInsights is fast becoming a ‘go-to’ digital marketing resource for marketers and business owners at every level of digital confidence. 50,000 unique visitors hit the website every month, 10,000 are subscribed to the weekly email newsletter, 1,650 follow on Facebook, 1,200 are members of the Linkedin group and 2,400 follow via Twitter. Bookmark the site now sign up for the weekly email by clicking through here.

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4 reasons to consider outsourcing (some) of your b2b social media activities

Committing to any form of outsourcing in simplistic terms means you have to pay for a service. Yet Social Media Examiner’s 2011 survey found that over 72% of marketers still retain in-house control of social media campaigns.

So why consider outsourcing some elements of your social media activity when the whole point is supposed to be about personal engagement of prospects and customers and the creation of deeper relationships?

By paying for external support with your social media you will have to:

1. PLAN: Outline what you want to achieve to a third party which means you will have to provide a written brief detailing what you want social media to do for your business.

2. GOALS: Set objectives that will give you something to frame your activity within, to work towards and to evaluate your success against.

3. ROI: Deciding how success is going to be measured helps to quantify what the return on investment your management can expect to see.

4. CREATIVE: You may not have the creative spark (the big idea), technical expertise (to translate dry product information into high impact lead generating content) or in-house resource to develop a relevant and durable social media campaign.

Going through the process of explaining what you plan to do opens up your plans to scrutiny, which brings clarity. And whilst bringing in the experts naturally creates an additional cost,  managed well, you may just execute sharper, focused more creative and more relevant social media campaigns as a result.

Image: Tom Fishburne

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Links worth a click #5

There have been some really interesting reads online.

Here is my pick from the last week, we 24 June 2011.

SOCIAL MEDIA:  Mashable offered up an interesting ‘Behind the Scenes’ on 8 Innovative Social Media Campaigns. My personal favourite is The Voice because it is a new take on reality contest TV and was perfect for social media.

B2B: I particularly liked the advice on keeping your mind on ‘next action’ as a driver on what and how to present in Social Media B2B’s post on How to Create Great B2B Presentations

FACEBOOK: Australia’s finest, Jeff Bullas has pulled together an overview of 5 creative Facebook pages. I was initially surprised in scrolling through to find games, movies, cars and lingerie, but hey it is Facebook!

SEO COPY: The ever useful Marketing Profs site published a handy little guide on writing with SEO in mind. Their Five Tips for Writing Content That Keeps Pace With B2B Searches included titbits such as staying aware and staying relevant.

BLOGGING: If you need to get your CEO on board with your social media thinking, here is a useful post designed to get them involved in the blog side of things.

Now, a three way tie for content of the week:

EBOOKS: First off Hubspot’s How to Write and Launch an Ebook That Generates Leads. Staggeringly useful.

INFOGRAPHICS: Secondly, a must try: Infographics are all the rage right now if you have a dataset you want to present in an innovative way. Here are 5 tools to help turn data into infographics.

WEBSITES: Finally, from Econsultancy, and just to make most of you feel your age, just look at how some of the UK’s top e-commerce sites have changed in the past five years (or in some cases not changed).

Hope you see something you like. More next week.

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B2B content marketing trends

The search for greater clarity and return from our marketing means we have to constantly strive to predict the evolving needs of customers. Knowing what causes customers distress and what makes them happy is criticial.

To aid us in our quest, Holger Schulze has put together some interesting data from surveys of his b2b technology marketers community. With insights into the rationale, the challenges, the formats and the channels, this is worth looking at it if you are looking to generate incoming leads through inbound marketing techniques.

Look out for some surprises in relation to the most used / popular formats and how companies choose to position their content – it might inform and even re-direct some of your activity.

It’s another example of a great Slideshare in action. Quick to browse, usable free information collated by experts, if you haven’t tried it yet, check out my fledgling efforts here. Sign up as there will be more following soon.

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