The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Vince Koehler on the Power of Content Marketing


You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “content is king,” but content alone is never enough. To be a successful content marketer, especially in the B2B world, you need to be plugged in to the sales side of things, and vice versa.

Vince Kohler, VP of Marketing for SBI, sat down with us to discuss optimizing the approach to content marketing and ways to ensure it’s aiding the sales effort. SBI is a sales consulting organization and producer of top tier content, including a podcast. In fact, they created one of the first sales content blogs on the internet.

Here’s what we learned from Kohler.

You're listening to the B Tob RevenueExecutive Experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketingteams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools andresources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three,two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience.I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about the power of contentmarketing, how to optimize your approach to it, ways to ensure you're ataiding the sales effort and accomplishing your goals. To help us do this, wehave with US VINCE COL or, VP of marketing for SBI sales consultingorganization, and also producer of top tier sales and marketing content, including theSBI podcast and video series. If you have not seen these yet or checkthem out or signed up or downloaded the APP, highly recommend you guys dothat. Vince, thank you very much for taking the time to be onthe show today. Hey, appreciate it great great to be here. Sobefore we jump in, we like to start with a question help our audienceget to know you a little bit better. If you had the ability to goback in time, with all of the things that you've learned in thewisdom you've accumulated until your younger marketing self one thing. What would it beand why? If you'RE A B Tob Markeer, get into the sales field, go on sales calls, get out there into the field and see everythingin the sales motion happened firsthand. I think that's perfect advice. I meana lot of times and and you know you've seen it too. I'm suresales and marketing are never, never completely aligned right or they struggle with thator the marketing call sales the dark side. Sales calls marketing the dark side.I've worked on both, so I'm not exactly sure which one is darker. But at the end of the day, I think walking a mile in eachother shoes is a great way to get an understanding of what each other'sgoing through and what's going to help each other. So let's talk marketing content. We've all heard that content is king and Gary v added the next youknow phrase. If content is king, context is God. I'd like toget your perspective on why you feel content marketing is so effective today. Youknow when, when done right, you're earning brand preference and you're doing itby in a real pure way that's helpful, that's satisfying the information needs of yourtarget customer, the prospect, and I mean the reason why that's soimportant is is you. You can attract their attention, but unless you're you'reunderstanding what their needs are, then you're just talking at them, whereas ifyou're offering up content that answers questions they have, then they're running downhill towardsyou. That brings up at all the joke about the bull coming down thatI won't do it on the podcast. We've all think we've all heard thatone, but some reason it just made me think of that. So whenyou started to put together Spi content strategy, you know a lot of people areproducing content. You know there's a there's a bunch of it out therethese days. I'm curious what gaps you had identified in the market that you'reaiming to fill. So we actually were an early arrival to content, andwe were we started adopting our content spreadgy seven years ago, in fact,you know, so early. We were one of the first sales blogs outthere. And the reason why we were doing that is differentiation is an importantcomponent to getting getting noticed in the market, and we saw content is a wayto do that. And so the gap was massive. But we hadto each year we had to keep iterating because we could be the what whatit would be great. You know, seven years ago completely changed, youknow, within eighteen months, and and so we had to keep evolving aheadof that. And so I would say that the biggest gap we saw wasmost of the content in on the sales,... the marketing side was provided bytechnology vendors and a lot of us great content and they, you know, they were trying to produce really stage awareness content. But what would happened? Is it always, you know, it always led you to a trailof buying their technology and there just wasn't the depth in the content. Itwould it would take the obvious and then when we would look at blog content, the blog would do a great job of talking about some you know,some need, but then it wouldn't go deep enough. I mean, youeven read it and if you were a professional that had five plus years ofexperience, you'd read most blog articles and go yeah, I kind of whoalready knew that or yeah, that was pretty obvious, but the article didn'tgive me anything I didn't know. And that's what we want. What that'sthe gap. We saw is tons of this one inch deep, you know, just kind of you know, as written by a junior writer that talkedto some subject matter expert and they wrote enough to get an article done,but not enough to make a difference. And so we wanted to be thatcontent out there that a professional in the field they start, they would startreading it, they would recognize, man, this person that prove this. Theyunderstand, they've lived in my shots. They understand, you know enough depthabout this understand the problems. And we would we would actually make surethat our content went way beyond the obvious and we spent two thirds of thetime talking about, you know, how you know, what to look outfor, how to make it happen, what to you know, how toput it into action, and that's how we wanted the differentially well. Andso seven years ago there wasn't as much and now today, do you worryabout content overload? You know, it's something we're aware of and and sowe've been content type. So whether it's audio, video or text and makingsure we have the right links and being mobile and having a mobile LAPP.So we've we've tried to make sure that we're ahead of the market with withhow the consumers want to actually interact with the content. And it has becomemore difficult to crack viewers because of their so many sources out there. Butwhat we found is that the old you know, quality content. If youcan get them on to one of your articles, then you keep them.That's what we'Rek that's what we're finding out, and so as long as we havegreat content, then all we have to do is have them experience oneor two articles and they sign up for a my SBI account. accellent.And so when you start to think about I mean you guys have an amazingdepth right. You mentioned that earlier, but it even even today, consideringa lot of the content that I consume, SBI has a depth of content anda realness to it, an authenticity to it, like you said,because a lot of you guys have walked in the SSUES and done that.I'm kind of curious how you go about determining topics for your content and ensuringthat it'll resonate in this more crowded space today and continue to keep all ofthose eyeballs that you've attracted over the last seven years. You know, itreally comes down to the discipline of not jumping, jumping to the finish lineand doing the right level of fire research. So Bier segmentation, this is theprocess of making sure we understand how buyers make fur just decisions and inhow you win over the competition or how how you make sure that they chooseyou instead of the competition. When you understand that, it gives you allof the tools you need to do to...

...come up with great topics. So, for example, if you have, if one of our main buyers isa CEO, and so we have a persona for the CEO and we knowexactly, you know what their objectives are and we know what their obstacles are, know what their primary metrics are and in so any of those obstacles,you can unpack any one of those and write an article about that and it'sgoing to turn their head. So that CEO is going to read that article, they're going to under try to understand what we're what we're recommending, andthey're called action. A lot of times it's boarded to their sales leave orto forward. It's somewhere inside the company and in so if we when we'redeveloping our topics, we look at the SONA, we look at the triggerevents and we look at the timing of what's important. So, for example, right now it's November. Twenty eight just will pry air sometime and inDecember, early January and s Ko sales kickoff coming up from most companies.And so we are currently writing articles on, you know, how to get themost out of your sale kickoff. A couple months ago is about howto plan your sales kick off. In January, February going to be alot of articles on on how to not let you put a lot of moneyinto a sales kickoff. How are you going to reinforce that? How areyou going to make sure your sales kickoff not a flash in the PAN?You know most most sales kickoffs are a flash in the PAN and everyone forgetsit a quarter later. So you know February first. If there's a articlethat comes out, it's titled You Know How to make sure your sales kickoffwasn't a flash in the PAN. That will get read and that will generateleads for us. Excellent. And so you've mentioned, you know, text, video, all that. Let's talk about kind of the current SBI stack. Can you run us through all the channels that you're currently using? Sure, so we we start at the at the very top of the actually considerone to one personal events in our our executive briefing center to be at thevery top of our content stack. You may be thinking, what do youmean? Why are you considering that content? Well, we created our own setof rules because we know that, looking at buyers need, they wantas practice, to customized for them. And so at the very top pyramidof our of our contents fact an executive briefing center where they can come inno charge, as long as they pay their own way to get there inDallas, Texas, they can have personalized best practices presented to them and havea working session to understand, to solve a problem, to figure out whattheir remedy growth plan can be. And and we do that because if wefound that, if companies get to know us, they want to do businessor they tell somebody else. And so so we offer that. That's atthe top of the stack. And then from there. The next higher,highest engagement from a content perfective is they get to be part of making thecount. So they get to come into our studio at the executive briefing centerand record a podcast, record a video and audio podcast, and they arethe expert. And we did that because our buyers hold us. Hey,we love hearing from you guys. Guys are consultants. I would much ratherhear from a peer sales leader talk about a topic then to have you talkabout it, and so we listen to that. So we bring in alot of those leaders, marketing theaters, Heos, to really explain a year, you know, a transformation they went through their first ninety days. It'sthe new CMO. They come into the studio and they participate in bring beingpart of the content. The next piece is where we start to roll itout, and that's our video, audio...

...and text are blog content. Sowe push it out in those different formats because different personas have different preferences forhow they want to consume the content, and so we push that out andeach of the we pushing out via email. We've course, optimize it in andpromoted in social channels, but ultimately we try to give the each ofthe of our prospects and customers their preference for what type of content they wantto they want to consume. And finally, the final piece of our content isa printed magazine, and so this is something that we print quarterly,and what we found is buyers sea levels in particular, they love to havesomething to put in their bag to read on a flight. So in soreading skymall, no, that's gimag using and so that that's a piece thatwe think we frequency maybe a little too much. So we're pulling back totwo times a year and and we that that piece of the content is probablythe most visible in the most commented on by our by our readers. Okay, excellent. And that magazine, if anybody hasn't seen that magazine is amazinglywell done. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you guys track down acopy of that. When you think about kind of the technology trends thatwe're seen today, everybody's talking about Ai, for example, right and I'm nota hundred percent sure where it's all going to shake out, other thanI think we're seeing in some cases people relying on technology to do their owncontent curation for them for themselves, so they don't get that joy of discoverythat I love and it's why I'm constantly out there looking for new sources.Is that something you guys are concerned about or something you know in terms ofnew technologies that you plan on leveraging as you think about your content strategy movingforward? No, we actually love that part of we love the Darwinian aspectof content market, and what I mean by that is is those technologies thatare out of alignment with the buyer tonic and those that are in alignment getrewarded. So, you know, the the water moves to the lowest point, and so you know a great example of that right now is is youtubeis completely ignoring the be tob down and they're their algorithm is all set upfor finding, you know, jumping tigers on BTC. The Youtube is justa complete disaster. When it comes to be, to be and they willbe punished for that. Someone, some technology, will come in and doit better in all be to be marketers like myself will shift to it andand it'll happen overnight before they can stop it. And so so actually thefluid nature of technology. We love that. We just have to make sure thatwe're listening. If our early indicator, because our buyer, when our buyerssays, yeah, I stopped. You know, I now listen tomy watch my videos on like a great example. You know, when Italk to CEO's now, they hate our videos because when they're on the treadmill, they shut off if, if they if the screen is not viewing,they can't like put it in their pocket. And I'm I'm sitting there thinking,wow, you know, that's a use case. Youtube is not eventhinking about someone else will, and that someone else was us. We createdour own APP where you can run the video without having to look at itthe same time, and someone else and will come out with a better youtubethat's tailor towards bet to be and so and what's the biggest challenge you guysface from from a content marketing perspective kind of today? I mean, itsounds like you're keeping your pulse on the you know, the shifting technology trendsand all of that. What's the biggest...

...challenge that you guys are wrestling withtoday? You know, the same challenge we faced the last seven years,and that is, when do you give up on something that doesn't seem tobe gaining traction. So if you're trying something new, you know, doyou wait? So great example, podcasts. We got in early to podcast andstarted doing them and you know, it was more effort than it wasreward and you know, we we almost gave up on it and we justknew, we just knew that it was a good bet and to keep doingit. And then out of the blue, completely out of anything we thought wouldever happen, the iphone started to put the the my podcast APP onthe on the iphone right out of the factory and the podcast views just blewup, just went crazy. And so you know, the the biggest challengeis always for us is when you're in early. So, for example,we're in really early right now on really high quality long, firm form video. We have thirty minute videos of sales leaders, marketing leaders, CEOS talkingabout major problems. And in our viewership on our videos is, you know, one fifty of our audio podcasts. And so you know, do isit worth producing the videos when you have so much more adoption by audio,or is that video going to catch them? And that's the biggest chanlee? Andso how? So, how do you track and attribute Roi across thecontent marketing strategy, you know, to feed that type of decision. LikeI mean you guys stuck with podcasts and and if the bet paid off,and you and I've talked before what we both think video is going to be. I mean there's a lot left. There's a lot of lansape left onthe video side. But how do you track each of those channels to attributeRoi? You know you have to. You have to have enough of themarketing engine producing a strong Roli to put down some bets that are given goingto pay off later. So so I think you know not everything is goingto produce in Ourli but the I think the key thing is is there's there'stwo views that you want to capture. The first one is this basic tablesteakes and that's your your marketing contribution, and that's cracking from the content.How many source leads do we have or influenced leads that are coming into thefunnel at the top, whether you're influencing throughout the funnel and and track thoseas they go into the funnel and make sure you're aligned with sales to wherethey agree that, yeah, that did come from marketing and it quantifies theimpact of marketing and tells you exactly what's happening. The deeper level of understandingyou want to get into the content marketing is to make the make the investmentand Revenue Attribution, and this is where you can trace each dollar of revenueback to the original marketing or sales activity that source the opportunity, and inthat way you can have a view of all sales and marketing activities that helpedinfluence a revenue booking, and those two together give you the the marketing contribute. Contribution gives you the one what's happening. That's basically cable fakes. The theadvanced view that you want is the revenue attribution model. That gives youthe Y, because that tells you where to invest more and it gives thebusiness a lot of components double their back that it's in some cases. Thatwould assume the ability to do that requires would depend on the tax TAC behindall of it, the ease with which you can do that. That's correct. In fact, you have to. It's a two step process. You'dhave to put the marketing contribution in place and be really, really good athaving a crm where you're tracking your your... opportunities in your able doing to, you know, source it back to marketing and track that all the waythrough. And then the attribution. You've got to be able to every everymarketing element, every sales activity, you have to be able to somehow trackthat back. Okay, excellent. Yeah, I mean it's a it's an it'san amazingly interesting and constantly evolving field in terms of the text acts behindall of this that make the attribution possible. I've seen multiple configurations and I knowlast time we talked I asked for the audience, so you know thisis a second time. Thank you, skype. We've had to do thisinterview because the audio quality wasn't what we wanted. So on the other one, which you won't hear, Vincent, I went into detail about the textstack and as I thought about it more, I've seen so many different types ofcombinations and I think it's more important to really understand kind of what youroutcome needs to be rather than the tools that you you know, particularly finework for you. And that revenue attribution is something that I think a lotof marketing people struggle with or get questioned on. So I appreciate those,those insights. So let's Change Direction here a little bit. I ask allof our guests kind of two standard questions towards the end of each interview.As a VP of marketing, that makes you, in sales PARLORAN's a targetor a potential prospect for people that are out there and I'm curious when somebodythat you don't know reaches out to you to say that they have some solutionthat you should be paying attention to. What captures your attention and builds theircredibility? I do think about that a lot because the in my case,I am a marketer of of sales and marketing consulting services, and so everytime I market I'm dimm owing my pride and so I think about this blotand and so we run a str and a LDR program so we have wehave sellers out there and nurturing people. We have to make sure that thatnurturing is top not for them to even pay attention to US help them moreon that side of their business. So what gets my attention is when it'sobvious there it's not a one to mini message. When it's obvious it's somehowtailored to me, but not in a fake way like I you know,twenty emails a day that are like they look customized, and then when theyrefer to my cut, my company name, it refers to LLC at the endof it and you know, I realize it's coming out of a database, but you know just when they when they failored their message. And offat a great, great example. There all the R N str from theside sales, and he had the best message. I start talking to himand he truly understood, you, understood who we sold to, who wewould try to target. He just did his homework, and I don't Imean it couldn't have taken him more than five, ten minutes, but hejust he was a thinking human that that applied, you know, some someform of intelligence that I felt I get spend some time with them and itmight actually benefit and so it's just the customization and caring enough to, youknow, really be relevant. Excellent. So last question. We call itour acceleration in sight. There's one thing you could tell sales are marketing professional, based on your experience and wisdom. If there's one piece of advice youshould give them today, that if they embraced it and internalized it would makethem better tomorrow. What would it be and why? Sales and marketing togetherneed to embrace ABM and that's been the that's been the buzz word for thelast eighteen months. They B M, but it's been driven by the butreally it's not about I mean, the... is important to have and itneeds to be emblace, but but the most important aspect is sales and marketingleaders sitting down figuring out how to replace leads opportunities because of the too trulywork together, because the sales leader, he just wants marketing to give him, to give him new logo leads that their sales force wouldn't have got withoutthem. And that's important. I know that's a part of it. Butthe lower hanging fruit is cross sell up cell within major accounts. We're marketingthrough content, through one to one events, through you know true customer successful andyou you can harvest a lot more from the customer base. And andso sales and marketing need to work together on those core accounts, those keyaccounts, and in have have a larger portion of the marketing spen. Goagainst helping sales pull in the largest white space they can. Well in ABM's. It's one of those you know, it's one of those buzz words andtrends that that in order to be effective. From what I've seen is sales andmarketing are not coordinating and they don't understand, you know, what eachother is doing, that you have a tendency. What I've seen is clientsend up sending mixed messages into an account right they're not consistently representing the brandthe same way, they're not going after the same personas or they're not interactingwith those personas in the same way and it has a tendency, if notcoordinated, to create this mixed message. Who is it I'm really trying totalk to? What kind of company am I, you know, working withhere, and create some some serious challenges. I've seen sales reps, especially,half to kind of back pedal because they weren't aware of something that marketingwas doing or a way that they were phrasing something, and so I thinkthat alignment is is extremely critical. Excellent. So, Vince, this has beengreat. If a listener wants to talk to you more about the topicswe've touched on today, what's the best way to get in touch with you? The best way to get in touch with me really is to go goto our website sales, bench marketing, and from there any of the anyof the contact dust forms, will lead you back to me, and Ithink that's the best way to get a taste for from the content. Thinkhelp you with your business well as to make awesome of it's I can't thankyou enough for taking the time today. It's been great having you on theshow. I appreciate it. Now it's been fun. All right, everyonethat does it for this episode, please check us out a Bob Rev exaccom. Share the episode with friends, families and Co workers. Drop us areview on itunes. Let us know what you think so we can continue toprovide you value with each episode and until next time, we have value primesolutions with you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to theBB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribeto the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so muchfor listening. Until next time,.

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