Containers Expo Blog Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Ravi Rajamiyer

Related Topics: SYS-CON MEDIA


The Power of Listening - A Show and Tell

Tune in and listen to your prospects and customers

We all know that listening to prospects and customers is important for our business. I would like to point you to a great example of listening.

Presenting a tale in the new marketing era..... Power of Listening

SCENE 1: Shelton Queries - On Sept 29, 2009
Shelton asks the following question on FOCUS forum
" Marketo versus Eloqua versus Silverpop - I have just started my research on a marketing automation solution. Everyone that I have talked to has said that the companies I need to talk to are Marketo, Eloqua, and Silverpop. I am trying to understand the differences between the three; any help/insight would be appreciated."

SCENE 2: Craig Rosenberg of FunnelHolic Responds - On Sept 29, 2009

Craig Rosenberg (@funnelholic,  Blog: FunnelHolic), an expert in B2B MArketing and Lead Generating/Nurturing, responds:
I am excited the marketing automation market has matured to the point that people are asking this question versus "what is marketing automation". I look forward to the answers here as marketing automation has moved from shelf-ware to a solution being used by marketers.

SCENE 3: Maria Pergolino of Marketo Responds - On Sept 29, 2009

Maria Pergolino (@InboundMarketer, @Marketo, Blog: Marketo- Modern B2B Marketing), Inbound Marketer at Marketo responds:
Hey Shelton,I work for Marketo as a marketer, but prior to doing so went through selecting a marketing automation vendor and choosing Marketo as a solution for my marketing team. I first became aware of Marketo when I was working as a demand generation manager for a mid-sized IT company...... (read more here).

Reader - Notice how Maria never really 'pitches' Marketo's solution. She talks about her own experience as a demand generation manager for a mid-sized IT company and how she searched for a solution for her biz needs, similar to what Shelton is doing right now.

SCENE 4: Steve Woods of Eloqua Responds - On Sept 29, 2009

Steve Woods (@stevewoods, @Eloqua, Blog: Digital Body Language, Eloqua Artisan), CTO of Eloqua and author of Digital Body Language responds:
I'm with Eloqua, and we're glad to hear you're considering marketing automation. Evaluating the solutions can be an interesting challenge, as many claims seem very similar among a variety of vendors. The best way to hear the differences is of course from our customers, and I would encourage you to learn from them here: http://www.eloqua.com/customers/explore_customers/ The themes that we commonly hear from customers who select us or upgrade from other vendors are the following… (read more here).

Reader – Bingo! Notice how Steve “shows” his product through his customer’s voice and highlights Eloqua’s messaging by saying “The themes that we commonly hear from customers who select us or upgrade from other vendors” instead of “Here are Eloqua’s features and this is why you would need them”.

SCENE 5: Kevin Joyce of Market2Lead - On Sept 29, 2009

Kevin Joyce(@nivenor1, @market2lead, Blog: Market2Lead), CMO of Market2Lead, responds:
Although I work for Market2Lead now, I have experience with Silverpop/Vtrenz, Marketo and Eloqua from a past life….. Despite the analysts suggestions that the differences are becoming minor, you will still find significant differences in the areas of focus of each of these firms. As a result, one size does not fit all. I can speak positively about all 4 firms for different situations! The dimensions of your research, wherein you will find differences and learn to map the best solution to your company's needs should include…(read more here).

Reader – Kevin practically lays out a map for Shelton to find the best solution. He ends by saying “Find a vendor whose solution meets your marketing needs, and a firm that is a good fit with your firm.”

SCENE 6: Parker Trewin of Genius - On Sept 29, 2009

Parker Trewin(@parker_genius, @Genius_com, Blog: Genius – B2B Marketing for Faster Sales), Director of Marketing Communications for Genius, responds:
Shelton, Lots of interesting stuff here and I appreciate Kevin's particularly vendor agnostic approach. (That being said, and in the spirit of total disclosure, I'm the Director of Marketing Communications at Genius.com. We provide a marketing automation solution as well. I'll try and be helpful, if not particularly vendor agnostic.)…. (read more here).

Reader – Parker also takes a vendor agnostic approach and is genuinely helping Shelton by saying “I'd also look for a solution that aligns sales and marketing… I would consider the total cost of ownership and time to value- equally important in this day and age. There are some big differences among the vendors in the space.”

SCENE 7: Howard J. Sewell of Connect Direct - On Sept 29, 2009

Howard J. Sewell(@HJSewell, Blog: Direct Connections), President and founder of Connect Direct, responds:
First, let me say there’s no one solution in this product category that’s right for everyone. And secondly, whoever it was that recommended these three companies to speak to gave you good advice – they’re the leaders in the space….. The #1 question I would ask any marketing automation vendor is regarding “time to value” – i.e. how long does it take, andhttp://posterous.com/posts/edit/7870510 what resources are required, to implement the system to its full capability. Ease of use is a huge factor with these products, and brochures don’t always tell the whole story. (read more here)

Reader –Notice how Howard points out the not so obvious point of ‘“time to value” – i.e. how long does it take, and what resources are required, to implement the system to its full capability.”

SCENE 8: Jep Castelein of LeadSlot - On Sept 29, 2009

Jep Castelein(@jepc, Blog: LeadSloth), who leads LeadSlot points Shelton to 2 useful posts List of Demand Generation Software and 8 Tips to Get Started with Marketing Automation.

SCENE 9: Kristin Hambelton of Neolane - On Sept 30, 2009

Kristin Hambelton (@Neolane), Senior Director of Marketing for Neolane, responds:
I too am a marketer by trade (and by passion!) and have evaluated, selected, and used many of the solutions mentioned within this thread at both small and large organizations I’ve worked at. So I can share some of the key criteria I’ve used in past roles to determine which marketing automation solution was right for my organization(s). As there has been quite a bit of ground covered here, I’d like to hone in on a few key areas that can help you with your “short list.” (read more here)

Believe it or not, all these responses to Shelton’s query were within 2 days.

I don't know how they did it. Clearly, all these very busy folks have not only setup some "listening" posts to be tuned in on customers/prospects conversations but also found time to respond meaningfully to the prospect's question.

All these folks are our everyday heros. Despite their crazy schedule and all the balls they juggle on a daily basis, they “tune it” and care to respond to prospects. None of them shoved their product offering down the prospects throat. Instead they offered what the prospect sought most – useful information to make an “informed” decision.

Recommended Resources:

Action Item for YOU:
Stop whatever you are doing. Think for a moment. Take 5 minutes and write down answers to these 3 questions. Answers don’t need to be perfect – just good enough to get you started.

  • Where do my customers/prospects hang out and go for their informational needs?
  • How am I listening to these conversations?
  • What is my 30 day plan to become better at "listening"?

More Stories By Ambal Balakrishnan

Ambal has robust 17+ years experience working at and partnering with high-profile technology companies in both B2B and B2C marketplaces building scalable, reliable, high performance products (both hardware and software) for business with multi-billion dollar in annual revenue. She has done various roles that includes engineering, program management, business development, strategy and marketing for premium and fast growing product divisions at Cisco, Telecordia (prior name Bell Labs) and strategic marketing consulting firm ClickDocuments. At Cisco, she focused on world wide marketing and positioning of Cisco's Cloud & Data Center switching business. She brings both strong engineering & marketing skills with verticals experience from many different industries. Ambal received her Masters in Computer Science from Purdue University and an MBA in Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurship from Wharton University of Pennsylvania. Ambal is an avid reader and hiker. Her hiking pursuits have taken her to several mountains including Mt. Whitney at 14,500 feet (which she managed to climb in 1 day). Ambal lives in Austin, TX with her family of 3 boys (that includes her husband!) and a border-collie+lab mix dog named Rainbow.

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