The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 5 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 Revenue Executive Experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, 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 content marketing, how to optimize your approach to it, ways to ensure you're at aiding the sales effort and accomplishing your goals. To help us do this, we have with US VINCE COL or, VP of marketing for SBI sales consulting organization, and also producer of top tier sales and marketing content, including the SBI podcast and video series. If you have not seen these yet or check them out or signed up or downloaded the APP, highly recommend you guys do that. Vince, thank you very much for taking the time to be on the show today. Hey, appreciate it great great to be here. So before we jump in, we like to start with a question help our audience get to know you a little bit better. If you had the ability to go back in time, with all of the things that you've learned in the wisdom you've accumulated until your younger marketing self one thing. What would it be and 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 everything in the sales motion happened firsthand. I think that's perfect advice. I mean a lot of times and and you know you've seen it too. I'm sure sales and marketing are never, never completely aligned right or they struggle with that or 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 each other shoes is a great way to get an understanding of what each other's going 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 you know phrase. If content is king, context is God. I'd like to get your perspective on why you feel content marketing is so effective today. You know when, when done right, you're earning brand preference and you're doing it by in a real pure way that's helpful, that's satisfying the information needs of your target customer, the prospect, and I mean the reason why that's so important is is you. You can attract their attention, but unless you're you're understanding what their needs are, then you're just talking at them, whereas if you're offering up content that answers questions they have, then they're running downhill towards you. That brings up at all the joke about the bull coming down that I won't do it on the podcast. We've all think we've all heard that one, but some reason it just made me think of that. So when you started to put together Spi content strategy, you know a lot of people are producing content. You know there's a there's a bunch of it out there these days. I'm curious what gaps you had identified in the market that you're aiming to fill. So we actually were an early arrival to content, and we were we started adopting our content spreadgy seven years ago, in fact, you know, so early. We were one of the first sales blogs out there. And the reason why we were doing that is differentiation is an important component to getting getting noticed in the market, and we saw content is a way to do that. And so the gap was massive. But we had to each year we had to keep iterating because we could be the what what it would be great. You know, seven years ago completely changed, you know, within eighteen months, and and so we had to keep evolving ahead of that. And so I would say that the biggest gap we saw was most of the content in on the sales,... the marketing side was provided by technology 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 trail of buying their technology and there just wasn't the depth in the content. It would 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, you even read it and if you were a professional that had five plus years of experience, you'd read most blog articles and go yeah, I kind of who already knew that or yeah, that was pretty obvious, but the article didn't give me anything I didn't know. And that's what we want. What that's the gap. We saw is tons of this one inch deep, you know, just kind of you know, as written by a junior writer that talked to 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 that content out there that a professional in the field they start, they would start reading it, they would recognize, man, this person that prove this. They understand, they've lived in my shots. They understand, you know enough depth about this understand the problems. And we would we would actually make sure that our content went way beyond the obvious and we spent two thirds of the time talking about, you know, how you know, what to look out for, how to make it happen, what to you know, how to put it into action, and that's how we wanted the differentially well. And so seven years ago there wasn't as much and now today, do you worry about content overload? You know, it's something we're aware of and and so we've been content type. So whether it's audio, video or text and making sure 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 with how the consumers want to actually interact with the content. And it has become more difficult to crack viewers because of their so many sources out there. But what we found is that the old you know, quality content. If you can 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 have great content, then all we have to do is have them experience one or 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 amazing depth right. You mentioned that earlier, but it even even today, considering a lot of the content that I consume, SBI has a depth of content and a 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 ensuring that it'll resonate in this more crowded space today and continue to keep all of those eyeballs that you've attracted over the last seven years. You know, it really comes down to the discipline of not jumping, jumping to the finish line and doing the right level of fire research. So Bier segmentation, this is the process of making sure we understand how buyers make fur just decisions and in how you win over the competition or how how you make sure that they choose you instead of the competition. When you understand that, it gives you all of the tools you need to do to...

...come up with great topics. So, for example, if you have, if one of our main buyers is a CEO, and so we have a persona for the CEO and we know exactly, 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's going 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, and they're called action. A lot of times it's boarded to their sales leave or to forward. It's somewhere inside the company and in so if we when we're developing our topics, we look at the SONA, we look at the trigger events 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 in December, 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 the most out of your sale kickoff. A couple months ago is about how to plan your sales kick off. In January, February going to be a lot of articles on on how to not let you put a lot of money into a sales kickoff. How are you going to reinforce that? How are you 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 forgets it a quarter later. So you know February first. If there's a article that comes out, it's titled You Know How to make sure your sales kickoff wasn't a flash in the PAN. That will get read and that will generate leads 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 consider one to one personal events in our our executive briefing center to be at the very top of our content stack. You may be thinking, what do you mean? Why are you considering that content? Well, we created our own set of rules because we know that, looking at buyers need, they want as practice, to customized for them. And so at the very top pyramid of our of our contents fact an executive briefing center where they can come in no charge, as long as they pay their own way to get there in Dallas, Texas, they can have personalized best practices presented to them and have a working session to understand, to solve a problem, to figure out what their remedy growth plan can be. And and we do that because if we found that, if companies get to know us, they want to do business or they tell somebody else. And so so we offer that. That's at the 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 the count. So they get to come into our studio at the executive briefing center and record a podcast, record a video and audio podcast, and they are the expert. And we did that because our buyers hold us. Hey, we love hearing from you guys. Guys are consultants. I would much rather hear from a peer sales leader talk about a topic then to have you talk about it, and so we listen to that. So we bring in a lot of those leaders, marketing theaters, Heos, to really explain a year, you know, a transformation they went through their first ninety days. It's the new CMO. They come into the studio and they participate in bring being part of the content. The next piece is where we start to roll it out, and that's our video, audio...

...and text are blog content. So we push it out in those different formats because different personas have different preferences for how they want to consume the content, and so we push that out and each of the we pushing out via email. We've course, optimize it in and promoted in social channels, but ultimately we try to give the each of the of our prospects and customers their preference for what type of content they want to they want to consume. And finally, the final piece of our content is a printed magazine, and so this is something that we print quarterly, and what we found is buyers sea levels in particular, they love to have something to put in their bag to read on a flight. So in so reading skymall, no, that's gimag using and so that that's a piece that we think we frequency maybe a little too much. So we're pulling back to two times a year and and we that that piece of the content is probably the 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 amazingly well done. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you guys track down a copy of that. When you think about kind of the technology trends that we're seen today, everybody's talking about Ai, for example, right and I'm not a hundred percent sure where it's all going to shake out, other than I think we're seeing in some cases people relying on technology to do their own content curation for them for themselves, so they don't get that joy of discovery that 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 of new technologies that you plan on leveraging as you think about your content strategy moving forward? No, we actually love that part of we love the Darwinian aspect of content market, and what I mean by that is is those technologies that are out of alignment with the buyer tonic and those that are in alignment get rewarded. So, you know, the the water moves to the lowest point, and so you know a great example of that right now is is youtube is completely ignoring the be tob down and they're their algorithm is all set up for finding, you know, jumping tigers on BTC. The Youtube is just a complete disaster. When it comes to be, to be and they will be punished for that. Someone, some technology, will come in and do it better in all be to be marketers like myself will shift to it and and it'll happen overnight before they can stop it. And so so actually the fluid nature of technology. We love that. We just have to make sure that we're listening. If our early indicator, because our buyer, when our buyers says, yeah, I stopped. You know, I now listen to my watch my videos on like a great example. You know, when I talk 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 even thinking about someone else will, and that someone else was us. We created our own APP where you can run the video without having to look at it the same time, and someone else and will come out with a better youtube that's tailor towards bet to be and so and what's the biggest challenge you guys face from from a content marketing perspective kind of today? I mean, it sounds like you're keeping your pulse on the you know, the shifting technology trends and all of that. What's the biggest...

...challenge that you guys are wrestling with today? 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 to be gaining traction. So if you're trying something new, you know, do you wait? So great example, podcasts. We got in early to podcast and started doing them and you know, it was more effort than it was reward and you know, we we almost gave up on it and we just knew, we just knew that it was a good bet and to keep doing it. And then out of the blue, completely out of anything we thought would ever happen, the iphone started to put the the my podcast APP on the on the iphone right out of the factory and the podcast views just blew up, just went crazy. And so you know, the the biggest challenge is 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 talking about major problems. And in our viewership on our videos is, you know, one fifty of our audio podcasts. And so you know, do is it 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? And so how? So, how do you track and attribute Roi across the content marketing strategy, you know, to feed that type of decision. Like I 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 on the video side. But how do you track each of those channels to attribute Roi? You know you have to. You have to have enough of the marketing engine producing a strong Roli to put down some bets that are given going to pay off later. So so I think you know not everything is going to produce in Ourli but the I think the key thing is is there's there's two views that you want to capture. The first one is this basic table steakes 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 the funnel at the top, whether you're influencing throughout the funnel and and track those as they go into the funnel and make sure you're aligned with sales to where they agree that, yeah, that did come from marketing and it quantifies the impact of marketing and tells you exactly what's happening. The deeper level of understanding you want to get into the content marketing is to make the make the investment and Revenue Attribution, and this is where you can trace each dollar of revenue back to the original marketing or sales activity that source the opportunity, and in that way you can have a view of all sales and marketing activities that helped influence 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 the advanced view that you want is the revenue attribution model. That gives you the Y, because that tells you where to invest more and it gives the business a lot of components double their back that it's in some cases. That would assume the ability to do that requires would depend on the tax TAC behind all 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'd have to put the marketing contribution in place and be really, really good at having 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 way through. And then the attribution. You've got to be able to every every marketing element, every sales activity, you have to be able to somehow track that back. Okay, excellent. Yeah, I mean it's a it's an it's an amazingly interesting and constantly evolving field in terms of the text acts behind all of this that make the attribution possible. I've seen multiple configurations and I know last time we talked I asked for the audience, so you know this is a second time. Thank you, skype. We've had to do this interview 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 text stack and as I thought about it more, I've seen so many different types of combinations and I think it's more important to really understand kind of what your outcome needs to be rather than the tools that you you know, particularly fine work for you. And that revenue attribution is something that I think a lot of 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 all of 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 target or a potential prospect for people that are out there and I'm curious when somebody that you don't know reaches out to you to say that they have some solution that you should be paying attention to. What captures your attention and builds their credibility? 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 every time I market I'm dimm owing my pride and so I think about this blot and and so we run a str and a LDR program so we have we have sellers out there and nurturing people. We have to make sure that that nurturing is top not for them to even pay attention to US help them more on that side of their business. So what gets my attention is when it's obvious there it's not a one to mini message. When it's obvious it's somehow tailored 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 they refer to my cut, my company name, it refers to LLC at the end of 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 off at a great, great example. There all the R N str from the side sales, and he had the best message. I start talking to him and he truly understood, you, understood who we sold to, who we would try to target. He just did his homework, and I don't I mean it couldn't have taken him more than five, ten minutes, but he just he was a thinking human that that applied, you know, some some form of intelligence that I felt I get spend some time with them and it might actually benefit and so it's just the customization and caring enough to, you know, really be relevant. Excellent. So last question. We call it our 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 you should give them today, that if they embraced it and internalized it would make them better tomorrow. What would it be and why? Sales and marketing together need to embrace ABM and that's been the that's been the buzz word for the last eighteen months. They B M, but it's been driven by the but really it's not about I mean, the... is important to have and it needs to be emblace, but but the most important aspect is sales and marketing leaders sitting down figuring out how to replace leads opportunities because of the too truly work 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 without them. And that's important. I know that's a part of it. But the lower hanging fruit is cross sell up cell within major accounts. We're marketing through content, through one to one events, through you know true customer successful and you you can harvest a lot more from the customer base. And and so sales and marketing need to work together on those core accounts, those key accounts, and in have have a larger portion of the marketing spen. Go against 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 and trends that that in order to be effective. From what I've seen is sales and marketing are not coordinating and they don't understand, you know, what each other is doing, that you have a tendency. What I've seen is clients end up sending mixed messages into an account right they're not consistently representing the brand the same way, they're not going after the same personas or they're not interacting with those personas in the same way and it has a tendency, if not coordinated, to create this mixed message. Who is it I'm really trying to talk to? What kind of company am I, you know, working with here, 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 marketing was doing or a way that they were phrasing something, and so I think that alignment is is extremely critical. Excellent. So, Vince, this has been great. If a listener wants to talk to you more about the topics we'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 go to our website sales, bench marketing, and from there any of the any of the contact dust forms, will lead you back to me, and I think that's the best way to get a taste for from the content. Think help you with your business well as to make awesome of it's I can't thank you enough for taking the time today. It's been great having you on the show. I appreciate it. Now it's been fun. All right, everyone that does it for this episode, please check us out a Bob Rev exaccom. Share the episode with friends, families and Co workers. Drop us a review on itunes. Let us know what you think so we can continue to provide you value with each episode and until next time, we have value prime solutions with you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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