Enableocity sales enablement-as-a-service Blog



3 min read

What's in Rolls Royce Brand? - What is your Brand Value Proposition?

By Mark Gibson on Mon, Aug 22, 2011

A large assortment of some of the World’s finest cars came to my home town last week for the annual Concourse de Elegance in Pebble Beach.

On Tuesday afternoon about 200 cars were on display in Ocean Avenue, Carmel for the non-paying public to get up close and kick the tires (I don’t think so). With so many wonderful machines from the past century of motoring in better than showroom condition, I was given to ask, “What is the most prestigious and enduring brand for any motor car, for the past 100 years?”

There are only a handful of manufacturers still around around after 100 years that are still going, let alone one that is 97 years old and one of the World's Superbrands. One brand in my opinion rises above them all - and that is Rolls Royce. I then asked myself the question, “what’s in the brand Rolls Royce…what does it mean to own one, who buys them and why?”.
A bad photograph of a beautiful pre-WW2 Rolls Royce drop-head coupe that inspired this article.

Topics: messaging value differentiation messaging architecture branding
2 min read

Quality Trumps Quantity in B2B Marketing Lead Generation

By Mark Gibson on Tue, Oct 19, 2010

For B2B marketers, quality trumps quantity in lead generation priority and according to a recent Marketing Sherpa poll, generating quality leads is the greatest challenge marketers face.

Topics: inbound marketing messaging value differentiation vs competition
3 min read

Plumbing Supplies Industry Marketing - in the toilet

By Mark Gibson on Sun, Oct 10, 2010

During recent bathroom renovations I had cause to research the alternatives to replacing the wall-mounted toilets in our 1960's California Ranch style house and became aware that some industries are way behind the curve in reaching consumers around their interests and needs vs. the traditional approach of advertising their products...the plumbing supplies industry for example.

Topics: inbound marketing messaging value
2 min read

How to Grade Inbound Marketing Messaging Effectiveness

By Mark Gibson on Wed, Sep 29, 2010

Most of the readers of this blog will agree that Inbound Marketing or Internet Marketing is the future of marketing; but it's a journey, not a one-off event and there is no final destination, because the foundation technology and tools are constantly evolving and the horizon as to what is achievable is ever-expanding.

Topics: inbound marketing messaging value marketing messaging
3 min read

Resources for Creating Engaging Powerpoint Sales Presentations

By Mark Gibson on Wed, Jul 28, 2010

In May this year I posted an article entitled "A Guide to creating engaging Powerpoint Sales Presentations"

Topics: messaging value 4-mat powerpoint
3 min read

Value Creation and Differentiation—Sales, Marketing Achilles' Heel

By Mark Gibson on Thu, Jul 22, 2010

Stan DeVaughn of Turner DeVaugh sent me a survey his firm conducted late last year in conjunction with Jigsaw for the CIO council entitled, “Vendor-CIO First Contact: Smarter Approaches for Vendors Seeking to Connect with CIOs”, which you can download by clicking on the link.

This is an enlightening, yet disturbing survey into the business development behavior of sales and marketing representatives from IT vendors and B2B software companies. It surveys more than 300 CIO’s about their experience with first contact from new vendors and suggests ways that corporations can better defend themselves from unwanted cold calls and SPAM.

The survey interviews 30 sales professionals to understand the problem from both sides and offers enlightened vendors suggestions on how to better engage their target market, and is worthwhile reading for every sales and marketing executive.

The chart in figure 3., excerpted from the report is worth pondering a few moments;
  • Sales reps revert to the cold call and telemarketing to generate leads, (despite low conversion rates) in order to satisfy sales managers, who need to be seen to be driving lead generation – this does not serve either organization.
  • Lack of preparation and lack of homework prior to a call is just plain unprofessional–period.
  • Unsolicited emails are SPAM and are as unwanted and annoying as cold calling to CIO’s; IT executives are actively encouraged to use permission-based SPAM filters.
  • Emails and voicemails with no clear value proposition–from the clients perspective, rank in the top 5 DON’T DO list.
We’re in Q3 2010, yet many IT vendors doggedly persist in 1980’s cold calling and poorly targeted email techniques, despite the miniscule success rates in vain the hope of connecting with IT buyers. 
“When we want or need a product like yours, we will find you” - is the CIO mantra that sales and marketers need to heed and understand; IT executives are not waiting for your call or your SPAMMY email.
The right approach to engage IT executives is made clear for vendors in figure 9:
  1. Vendors wanting to make first-time contact with CIO’s should do their homework prior to making an approach; leading with an opinion on value-creation, specific to the company and relevant to the industry.
  2. They should seek to connect through referrals from trusted acquaintances and social network introductions with a clear and relevant value proposition,
  3. They should also be prepared to include rather than circumvent the executive administrator (gatekeeper) in the process of calling IT executives,
  4. They should be prepared to use current technology to reach buyers on a permission basis and track click-through rates to measure buyer interest,
  5. Vendors should be prepared to use vendor portals and to communicate with a clear and relevant value proposition, coupled relevant proof points.

Conclusion and Call to Action

If the activities of your sales and marketing team rank high on the CIO annoyance scale in chart 3 or if they struggle to communicate value and differentiate offerings as in figure 9., then more of the same Outbound Marketing techniques are not going to help.

We believe the top priorities for IT vendors to help CIO’s and IT executives to find you on the Internet, understand your offerings and interact with your sales and marketing team are as follows;
Topics: inbound marketing messaging value differentiation
2 min read

A Guide to Creating Engaging Powerpoint Sales Presentations

By Mark Gibson on Wed, May 05, 2010

Recently I posted a question on a LinkedIn forum eliciting ideas for best-practices in PowerPoint presentations for an upcoming client project.

This was as a result of reading Seth Godin's blog-post on "PowerPoint makes us stupid - these bullets can kill", which led to an older post entitled Really Bad PowerPoint.

I didn't get much of a response to my request for ideas on PowerPoint best-practices, so I did some research of my own and came up with my own idea of what a best practices PowerPoint sales presentation should look like.

The following ideas combine to form the structure of my best-practices PowerPoint sales presentation and if you like it, please leave a comment and share it with friends. If you dont like it, I'm interested in why not.

1. I used MindManager from Mindjet to create the mind-map and story-board and highly recommend this extremely useful tool to create new ideas either individually or collaboratively.
2. I used the 4-MAT system developed by Bernice McCarthy for presenting the information in a way that is proven to create understanding for all learning preferences.
  • 4-MAT is powerful for conveying new ideas in training, presentation environments and in teaching all ages and we use it to present our Selling in the Internet Age training and ELearning materials
  • If you are not using 4-MAT for your presentations, then I recommend you investigate this method. (If you find anything better, please leave a comment)
  • 4-Mat answers the How, When Why and What-if questions in a logical order to engage, inform, extend and refine conceptual understanding.
3. The presentation uses the Buyer Persona from the Buyer Relevant Messaging and Messaging Architecture to engage the buyer around their issues. This creates PowerPoint sales presentations consistent with the Website message and with the conversations sales people are having with buyers.

4. The salesperson expresses an opinion very early in the I.M.P.A.C.T buying cycle to initiate the buyer-seller engagement and create opportunity in a Value-created Selling (consultative selling) approach. 

5. In this approach we do not present the relevant product features and capabilities of our solution until we have created emotional engagement. 

6. If you can't tell your story in under 20 slides then you have work to do to create clarity and distill your message. Try to remember slides are visual aids, not a crutch; we are not training, we are selling. It's up to the presenter to know the script and to bring the images and story to life. A great presenter engages the buyer emotionally at the outset through expressing an informed opinion and asking questions and brings them on the journey as you relate your solution.

7. Remember Seth's rules, pictures convey emotions and engage the imagination, bullets can kill.

8. Finally, can you present without using Powerpoint, using a flip-chart, visual confection, the back of a napkin or some other presentation medium or tools suggested in the comments below. 

Webinar - Do Your PowerPoint Sales Presentations Suck?
Topics: messaging value 4-mat powerpoint
3 min read

Get Clarity in Messaging or Get Trampled by the Competition

By Mark Gibson on Wed, Apr 28, 2010

The symptoms of marketing under-achievement are fairly standard and there are tens of thousands of companies Worldwide with good to great products that are under-performing in marketing. Here are a few symptoms of a problem at B2B company, Acme Inc.:

Topics: inbound marketing messaging value differentiation
3 min read

Connecting Brand with Positioning to Create Clarity in Messaging

By Mark Gibson on Thu, Apr 15, 2010

Innovation is happening everywhere as our economy transforms from the 20th century model of mass production and lifetime employment in monolithic corporations to individuals and knowledge workers in small businesses investing in their sweat and ideas to make a living and to live their dreams.

Topics: messaging value positioning lean start-ups
2 min read

A Messaging Architecture to Convey Value, Position, Differentiate

By Mark Gibson on Wed, Mar 31, 2010

A Messaging Architecture Captures your Value Proposition

In the dot.com boom and Outbound Marketing World of just a few years ago, marketing, advertising and branding agencies engaged well funded startups in positioning and branding exercises and at the same time relieved the investors and company of a lot of cash.

This sort of top-down branding went hand in hand with lavish launch parties and first-mover takes all mentality that fueled the dot.com boom and subsequent bust.

Driving eyeballs was what mattered and often the brand message was disconnected from the underlying value of the products and the sales team's ability to articulate it in conversation with buyers.

It is difficult to imagine spending lavish sums on branding, positioning and advertising in today's Inbound Marketing, lean-startup World, where every dollar spent is closely scrutinized and analyzed for ROI, and where it is recognized that B2B brands are built over time, based on customer success. 

To me it seems obvious that the branding should be based on the value the company creates for customers and we can capture this information through a careful analysis of how customers use the products/services.

Brand Positioning

What matters in messaging is connecting your brand and positioning message with the most visceral value-creation proposition for each interested group of buyers in your prospect universe. Al Reis in the book "Positioning" suggests rather than try and create something new and different in the mind of the buyer, we need to manipulate what is already there and re-tie the connections that already exist.

Brand Messaging Process

A methodology for messaging value is built from the bottom-up, based on connecting value-creation to buyer-needs rather than a top-down "Mad-Men" view of the World into the reality of selling products/services...we have tried both approaches and bottom-up works best.

  1. Start your journey to clarity in messaging value with a sales and marketing messaging alignment workshop. The output of this process is Messaging Architecture that will help marketers and salespeople position capabilities and engage buyers in conversations around their problems vs. the product features. 
  2. Identify your buyer-persona's and their roles, goals, issues and problems that your products/services can address
  3. Next, map your relevant capabilities that can help buyer persona's solve their problems
  4. Group Win-themes into logical clumps and abstract the positioning pillars to create clarity in positioning vs competition.
  5. At this point we will have enough information to create visual confections and visual stories that salespeople can use to engage buyers in conversation around their issues.
  6. With the Value Proposition in place, the Brand Message including mission-statement, tagline, corporate positioning and corporate presentation (visual confection) can easily be derived.
  7. Content Creation Templates are used to develop consistent content across the company for both blogging and Website content by insiders as well as external writers, by extracting win themes and buyer persona issues and appropriate keywords.
  8. Create a "Mission Statement" that helps employees connect their daily toil with company vision, revenue, profit and customer satisfaction goals.
  9. Create a positioning statement that identifies the market segment you wish to occupy in the mind of the buyer and why your product/service is different and valuable. 
In a startup attempting to re-segment an existing market, the positioning statement will be used countless times in sales and marketing messaging, it should be well thought out and should not change every week.  

Align Sales & Marketing Messages - Webinar
Topics: messaging value marketing messaging differentiation branding