|By Cloud Best Practices Network||
|December 8, 2012 01:13 PM EST||
One of our primary consulting areas is sales strategy and support for Cloud Providers looking to beef up their product plans, selling programs and client relations, and this is headlined through our Cloud Revenues knowledge portal.
Central to the expertise of the program is use of the Cloud of course, for online apps that can automate and accelerate key sales activities like using ‘Marketing Automation’ to drive more prospect leads.
Content Marketing is the new sales muscle in the social media 2.0 world, and so it’s critical this is a well developed muscle. Sales reps should be well trained on ‘Social Selling’, sharing links to thought leadership articles to keep their brand in view with their circle of prospects and partners.
Of course this requires they have the content to link to, and so the backbone to this activity is a Content Marketing platform. The marketing team needs to be populating a funnel of blogs, white papers, customer testimonials etc., and publishing them to their web tools to support these goals.
Supporting the Solution Sales team
Cloud applications like Pardot can be used for automating this platform, providing tools for lead capture and automated follow up actions for ‘lead nurturing’.
The other primary dimension the marketing team needs to consider is the sales cycle for each deal. One of the primary insights of the Solution Selling bible from Mike Bosworth is that procurements develop and finalize over a distinct set of three ‘buyer phases’, and that sellers should adapt and align to these accordingly.
To achieve this the key feature of Pardot to highlight is the ability to create “nurturing tracks” that reflect this same life-cycle structure, so that the right materials are sent at the right time.
Content marketing automation is ideal for this goal, and fits perfectly along side the other content activities of the organization, like press releases, email newsletters, and so on.
For example early in the sales cycle the best material might be case studies, to introduce how other firms have benefited from this solution, and then later in the process more relevant and timely information would be template materials for calculating a TCO break-even plan.
Cloud Persona Matrix
Our Cloud Persona Matrix provides template documentation for these content campaigns, that is tailored specifically for Cloud hosting products and services.
This is based on defining a number of ‘Selling Journeys‘ for Cloud services, and from these distilling the categories for managing this matrix approach, such as:
- The Buyer Personas involved in Cloud procurement – CIOs, IM Analysts, Network planners and more.
- Cloud best practice expert content aligned to these roles - For example Cloud Archiving and Compliance briefings for IM analysts focused on record-keeping perspectives on Cloud computing.
- Key impact solution areas, where Cloud offers new capabilities to solve previously intractable business problems.
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
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