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75% of IT Pros Won’t Register for White Papers

I just read an interesting post by Stephanie Tilton at Savvy B2B Marketing titled IT Pros Don’t Want to Register for Your White Paper. It dovetails into a recent post I wrote about the decreasing value of white papers as they become more ubiquitous. White papers still remain popular because they are a great source of information, they are just becoming less powerful as a lead conversion tool. As you read the article summary, ask yourself if price papers could augment white papers for B2B lead conversion.

Stephanie interviewed Jay Hallberg, VP of Marketing of Spiceworks. Spiceworks surveyed some of their 800,000 Small-Medium Business Information Technology users and found the following:

  • 75% don’t sign up for white papers that require registration.
  • Those that do share their information obviously don’t mind doing so, but they DO mind a pesky vendor that calls them 10 times over the next 30 days.
  • IT pros want to reach out to the vendor on their terms via their preferred channel, e.g. phone, email, or chat.

For those vendors that persist in using white papers as a lead generation tool, the article suggests:

  • Write objective, educational papers, not product pitches.
  • Show your expertise.
  • Let people comment on your white papers, provide feedback, and rate them. This will help you produce better material of more value to the prospect.
  • Integrate social media and let your authors and product experts have a conversation with prospects. In other words, create a conversation as opposed to using white papers as a way to bait and hook people. The white paper should be part of an integrated approach that helps start a conversation, move it along, or close it.

As resistance to white paper registration increases, it will be interesting to see how B2B marketers adapt to boost lead conversion.

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Price Papers vs. White Papers for B2B Lead Conversion

While most B2B marketers are familiar with using white papers for lead generation, they may not have heard the term price paper. A price paper is a document that helps prospective customers with budgetary information about complex products and services. For the B2B marketer, it is a valuable document that prospects want and can be used as a strong offer to motivate them to provide their contact information (lead conversion).


The above diagram shows two key ingredients for a strong B2B offer: Value and Scarcity.

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Job Description for B2B Marketers

A new year always brings with it fresh ideas. Many reflect on the past year and yearn to make a career change. I was thinking of how B2B Marketers might pursue that change and the thought led to ask “what does a B2B marketing job description look like”?

I recently wrote a short white paper called “How B2B marketers became responsible for everything, including sales, and how to fix it”. Taking that concept as a starting point, I thought it might be interesting to come up with several B2B marketing job descriptions, each from a different point of view.

B2B Marketing Job Description 1 (from the B2B marketer’s point of view)

“The ideal candidate will be responsible for all marketing efforts including, but not limited to, industry direction, market share analysis, product vision, service offerings, corporate branding, community involvement, social media engagement, advertising placement, blog writing, video producing, podcast recording, campaign management, suspect capturing, prospect nurturing, sales hand-off, funnel tracking, case study development, closing material creation and, finally, ROI measurement.”

B2B Marketing Job Description 2 (from a VP of Sales point of view)

“The ideal candidate will surface new sales opportunities so we can close, close, close.”

B2B Marketing Job Description 3 (from a CEOs point of view)

“The ideal candidate will be able to quantify the marketing return on investment (MROI) and make me proud to be the head of the company.”

Put yourself in their shoes

What’s interesting about this exercise is that the C-suite paints in broad strokes while marketers tend to live in the details. Maybe to land that next new marketing job it makes sense to simplify your approach and focus on what those who are hiring are looking for.

Good luck in the new year!

Write your own description, I’d love to hear what you think.

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Surprising 2009 Lead Conversion Results

Ask business executives about 2009 and many will answer that it was a rough ride. Finding new customers with active projects, much less with budgets, was tough.

However, some actually increased revenues by seeking new approaches to finding customers. Many realized that what potential customers need in a tight market is a way to determine budget fit. Using the psychology of self-service pricing, many B2B companies were able to boost their lead conversion rates by 250-300% and win new business.

Federal Appliance, a Dell EqualLogic reseller, uses a blog www.4equalllogic.com for technical users to drive traffic and then a self-service pricing offer to convert prospects. For the year ended December 31, 2009, Federal Appliance converted 3,219 website visitors with 2,323 being “sales ready”; that’s a 72% ratio.

Another emerging technology company, GreenBytes, specializes in inline deduplication appliances. Primary dedupe products are the next generation of products following on the heals of the already successful backup deduplication vendors like Exagrid, and DataDomain. In the 60 days that GreenBytes has been testing the effectiveness of self-service pricing they have seen a 71% ratio of sales ready leads.

As more and more technology vendors chase fewer customers we may see a rocky first half of 2010. For some that think beyond the traditional “whitepaper” and “free trial” offers and finally give self-service pricing a try, 2010 could be a stellar year.

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