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B2Bs Lack Collaborative Processes for Content Creation

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Two-thirds of B2B companies struggle to achieve a truly collaborative process for message development, according to a report from Corporate Visions: 33% of B2B sales and marketing professionals say their message creation process is non-collaborative, politically charged, or nonexistent, and 33% say their message creation process is semi-collaborative.

Only one-third (33%) of B2B sales and marketing professionals say their companies have a collaborative process for creating content:

Below, other findings from the Corporate Visions survey, conducted in the third quarter of 2012.

Those people closest to the customer—field sales—are rarely involved in the content development process.


Among the sales and marketing professionals involved in messaging and tool creation processes, field sales reps are the least likely to be included (37%), compared with other roles such as marketing managers (75%) and marketing associates (54%):

Also, only 3% of B2B sales and marketing professionals say their company uses a repeatable process when creating content and messaging tools across the enterprise, whereas 61% say they sometimes or never use such a process when creating content:

Instead, companies are creating marketing content on the fly, risking inconsistent and diluted messages, the study points out.

"The results of this quarter's survey indicate that while some organizations are taking steps to better align sales and marketing, many continue to operate in inefficient silos," said Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer, Corporate Visions.

"Enterprises need to employ a cross-functional framework for message development where marketing and sales work together to create messaging that resonates with customers. The repeatable framework should begin with identifying the customer's main goals, then pinpoint how these goals are at risk. These risks will redefine the customer's needs that only your solution/service can meet, which in turn will help you create new, effective messages and tools for any campaign."

About the data: Findings are based on a poll of 730 business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing professionals worldwide, conducted in the third quarter of 2012.


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  • by Stacy Taylor Mon Oct 8, 2012 via web

    This article explains the challenge within a lot of B2Bs on content and message devlopment, but doesn't suggest any solutions. Could you share any examples or best practices for employing a cross-functional framework for message development?

  • by Tim Riesterer Wed Oct 10, 2012 via web

    Thanks for the question, Stacy. Here are two steps to consider, sorry a bit long, but wanted to be helpful.

    Step one: Field salespeople must be involved in the initial message development meetings -- but they have to see that it will be worth their time. So, showing them you have a process for creating sales-ready messaging vs. just picking their brains is essential. Which leads to step 2...

    Step two: Have a disciplined messaging framework for gathering and focusing your cross-functional team's input. Typically these events are unstructured and no one knows where to start, or if you are making progress, or if you've arrived in a good place. Here's an idea for a structured process:

    -Define the target prospect's status quo: What are they doing today? Why do they feel they are safe? Where are the unknown, unappreciated gaps and deficiencies in their status quo approach?

    -Demonstrate how objectives are at risk: Based on those gaps, have your team identify the challenges, threats, problems, new obligations, potential missed opportunities that will be caused by these gaps and deficiencies... then show how that puts key objectives and outcomes at risk.

    -Align your unique or advantaged strengths: After developing the customer-centric framework above, you map your unique or advantaged strengths for solving each of the challenges, threats, problems etc. Don't map everything you do, just those relevant and unique or advantaged capabilities that eliminate the risks you posed.

    -Visualize the contrast: Literally show the contrast between the prospect's status quo and your new, better approach. To make a decision, your prospect has to clearly see (read... simple picture) the difference between what they are doing today and what you are proposing. Too many messages just focus on the solution, but without the contrast, the prospect's brain can't determine the value of your solution. No contrast, no value.

    -Tell a success story with contrast: Prospects best identify their need through hearing a story about someone like them who confirmed their pain and made a decision to change. Work to create a customer story with contrast to validate the value and help the prospect self-identify their own need for change.

    Hope that helps!

  • by Tom Borgman Fri Oct 12, 2012 via web

    This validates and brings to the fore the challenges services like ours (regular/repeatable, consistent and compelling video content for B2B) have in finding, engaging and working with the 33% who "get it!" Actually, in my own B2Bsphere, I have actually yet to see semi or fully collaborative rates as high as the 33% slices shown. But either way, once we find a client who IS in one of those slices and, use processes to find those contrasts you mention, it's a much shorter route to get them to see how video content can bring those contrasts to life. Thanks for this - will use aspects - with credit of course - of this in our business plan being submitted next week!

  • by Meagan Dahl Thu Oct 25, 2012 via web

    Thanks for the article and additional insights! I think that bringing to focus the lack of communication between search is just as important as providing solutions because every shop will have to create their own internal communication to deal with the exciting new world of content marketing. Exciting!

    Our agency has solved a few of these issues by situation the search people near the content people, forcing them to have conversations and work together on campaigns. We also value the time that it takes to create meaningful engaging content, no rush jobs for us. Having a collaborative mindset is the key though, to changing the way we view the houses of SEO and content marketing.

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