• 7 Beliefs That Kill B2B Referrals

    Ross Allen May 21, 2012

    Early March, Brandee Barker wrote a piece about turning your company into a finely tuned b2b referral machine with every employee enthusiastically spreading the word that “you are always looking for a few new clients.”  Today, I’d like to talk about some of the lessons we’ve learned in helping Dynamics partners execute this strikingly effective marketing program.

    It became apparent a number of years ago that partners, on average, do great work in putting in complex business systems under very stressful circumstances and happy customers were more than willing to pass the word.  Almost all of these b2b referrals (up to 50% of all new closed business) were generated without any additional effort from the partner.  The downside was that many partners where exhibiting behaviors that were “anti-referral” and thus reduced the potential for attracting new business.

    Here are the top 7 things we have found partners consistently do or believe that prevent a higher percentage of b2b referrals business from being generated by their loyal client base.

    #1 – You Assume You Have Mindshare

    Since you did great work at the client’s site, you assume the client will recommend you to their contacts or colleagues without any additional effort on your part.  The trouble with this belief is that your clients are just as busy as you are and most will forget about your work in a very short period of time.  It’s all about frequency of the reminder.  Each of your employees should be asking throughout your client’s organization and throughout the year for referrals.  Consider them human “fridge magnets” that keep your company top of mind.

    #2 – It’s The Job of Sales

    Most employees don’t think it is part of their job to market on behalf of the firm.  There are a lot of reasons why this is believed, none of them are valid.  It’s everyone’s job.

    #3 – You Believe You Only Have to Ask Once

    Asking can be hard and often comes with a fear of rejection.  It is neither difficult nor is there much chance of being rejected.  Remember that mindshare is important and the message needs to be delivered at a reasonable frequency to be effective.

    #4 – We’re Too Busy Now

    A lot of us put out the message, either consciously or not, that we are too busy.  We are always in a hurry and the stress levels are high.  As a result, most of our clients think we don’t need the work.  Some clients will get protective of your services thinking that if you get a new client there will be less time for them!  Stop acting so busy and let your clients know, there’s always room for one more great client like them.

    #5 – It’s Not Part of Everyday Business

    This reason is related to #2.  Most of our employees haven’t been asked to do this type of work and have therefore not incorporated it into their daily activities.  Now’s a good time to change that behavior!

    #6 – But I Don’t Know How to Ask

    Either the timing was wrong or I just don’t know what to say, are common phrases used by consultants that can’t seem to get the words out.  Don’t sweat it.  This is normal.  Create your own words, find the right people to ask and the rest will happen.  Practice with someone else and make it a habit.

    #7 – It’s Scary

    Most of us fear rejection.  This is completely understandable.  What is worth noting here is that when we ask for a referral, we shouldn’t be expecting an immediate answer.  Great if it happens, but your primary job is to make the “ask” and pass the message that we are open for business.  You are the human fridge magnet.  Keep it as simple as that and the results will happen.

    PARTNERWORKS has rolled out a program designed entirely for Partners to turn their businesses into a referral engine. Learn more about what the Referral Program can do for your business: http://www.partnerworks.co/store/sales-referral-program-kit/

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  • This Lead is Crap!

    Mark Stuyt May 7, 2012

    How many times have you heard (or said) these words over the course of your sales career?

    With the exception of the past couple years, the ERP/CRM sector has been blessed with a long growth run that produced a predictable stream of engaging prospects looking to either implement or change their business systems. Then all of a sudden the quality leads stopped coming. So what happened? A lot happened; and it will get worse, not better, moving forward.

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  • It’s No Secret, Referral Leads are Important to Your Business

    Drive Referral Leads in B2B

    It’s common for us to trust the advice of our friends and colleagues. Often if they mention a product or service at a time when we are looking for something similar, we explore their recommendation. It’s human nature to share experiences and help each other out when we can. That’s why referrals make sense. No matter what business you’re in.

    In the B2B sector referral leads have been underutilized. There are countless excuses as to why referrals won’t work, but what about the reasons why they will? When someone comes to you  on the recommendation of a colleague, they already have an expectation that you can help them. The sale becomes that much easier because your credibility has already been established. Who wouldn’t want this kind of lead in their pipeline?

    The thing is, not a lot of businesses in B2B are actively asking for referrals. The key to success in gaining these warm referral leads is to know how to get people talking about you, and this can be a steep hill to climb when you don’t know how and where to begin.

    If you’re going after referrals it’s easy to make these top 3 mistakes:

    1. Asking Once
      You ask for referrals once, and when nothing comes through you close the book on your attempts at generating referral leads. Asking for referrals isn’t a passive activity. Your request won’t stay top of mind forever.
    2. Desperation
      Asking too many times and through improper methods. You don’t want to come off desperate and if you breach the idea of referrals when it isn’t warranted you will have missed out on an opportunity down the line.
    3. Poorly Communicating Your Business
      When asking for referrals you give too little or too much information about what you do. If you’re asking contacts outside of your work environment for referrals you need to provide them with enough information about how you can help their network, or else they won’t tell anyone about you.  Similarly, don’t overload them with minute details of your business that they’re unlikely to understand.

    Don’t fall victim to these mistakes! Discover the step-by-step process of successfully attaining referrals.

    PARTNERWORKS has developed a referral methodology specifically for the B2B environment that takes away all of the guesswork. Learn more about what the Referral Program can do for your business: http://www.partnerworks.co/store/sales-referral-program-kit/

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  • Click Here: The Key to Success in B2B Email Marketing

    Email Marketing is one of the most popular marketing tools used today. Quick and inexpensive, B2B email marketing has the potential for incredible control of your message, audience and branding. It gives organizations the opportunity to reach new and existing customers in a way not possible with classic marketing tools.

    Many times, email marketing is the primary form of marketing aB2B organization pursues – but does it perform?

    Email marketing takes about a quarter of a marketing department’s time, but the sad reality is that B2Bs have an open rate of roughly 24%, and a click through rate of only 2%.[i]  So should you abandon email marketing? NO! But there are tips that can make your B2B email marketing campaigns more effective.

    1. Content is key. Be a thought leader with a compelling topic; if you write it, they will come…
    2. Sharing is caring! Not only will quality content increase your click through rate, it also has a better shot at being shared on social networks. Include buttons for easy sharing at the end of your email.
    3. Less is more. Keep copy short and to the point, and make sure your best stuff is near the top.
    4. Draw them in with a short, intriguing subject line. Convey your superior knowledge in 55 characters or less to have a better chance at enticing readers to open your email.
    5. Scrub that data! Clean up your database and segment your lists – this will allow you to target and personalize your messages.
    6. Timing is everything, so hit them where it counts. Avoid first thing Monday morning – no one’s had their coffee yet, and they’re still mourning the loss of the weekend. Tuesday between 10 am and 1 pm is best, but tracking metrics will be your best insight into finding out what times work for your business.
    7. Don’t overload your audience! We’ve already established the abundance of messaging out there, so pick ONE point and stick to it. Having half a dozen call to actions (CTAs) will not make your message more effective; if anything, it will kill any potential your campaign has.
    8. STAND OUT! Make sure your CTA is impossible to miss and above the fold. Who has time to scroll?
    9. Optimize your message for mobiles. With 79 million US consumers checking their email on a mobile device, if you’re ignoring this segment of the population you’re missing out.
    10. Test it! Try A/B testing to find out what kinds of layouts create conversions. Every business is different; best practices in one industry won’t always work in another, so always test.

    Got all that? The biggest takeaway: people are completely overwhelmed in today’s content driven society. If you want to stand out keep it simple, compelling, and make your call to action so obvious that it would be seen from space. And if in doubt, test your options.

    Now what are you waiting for? Scrub those lists and get your click through rate up!

    [i] B2B Marketing’s Email Benchmarking Report

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  • Can Facebook benefit your B2B organization?

    Elise Duncan April 5, 2012
    Can Facebook benefit your B2B organization?

    Discover how to Excel at B2B Marketing on Facebook

    Facebook has been a ground breaking social media site, and occupies a good deal of internet users’ time every day. Long ago adopted by B2C companies as a way of interacting with their consumers, it has allowed them unprecedented success. The question now posed is whether these same benefits can be transferred to B2B marketing on Facebook.

    Some interesting facts about Facebook:

    • Over 500 million people had a Facebook account at the end of 2011.
    • More than half of users log in every day.
    • The average user has 130 friends.
    • Over 700 Billion minutes a month are spent on Facebook.
    • Over 250 million users interact with Facebook across 2 Million websites.
    • 71.2% of the U.S. web audience is on Facebook.
    • 750 million photos were uploaded to Facebook over New Year’s weekend.
    • 48% of young Americans said they find out about news through Facebook
    • 200 million people access Facebook via their mobile phone.

    Facebook is being used by 1 in 13 people and that means that it’s being used by your target audience!

    Facebook is an easy way to gain new clients, connect with existing customers, promote new products and market sales offers.

    The key for B2B marketing on Facebook is value. Facebook allows you to create a compelling dialogue with users while communicating in a manner that isn’t possible through traditional promotional means.

    Establish yourself as a resource: People can visit your website and learn about your business. Or they can check out your blog and find out about relevant industry developments and topics in the news. Adding this content to your Facebook page will establish your company as an industry expert and humanize your brand.

    Engage with your audience: A Facebook page for your business is another way for you to interact with the people who are already buying and using your product or service. Your existing customers bring a breadth of knowledge about your products; their testimonials can also help to sway potential new customers in your favor.

    Build relationships: Establish an easy rapport by encouraging and answering any questions your users have. Show them that your B2B business is there for the long haul by keeping customers satisfied and loyal to your brand. If a negative comment pops up, deal with it sincerely; understanding and addressing a problem goes a long way in stemming negative commentary.

    Show your softer side: The stats on Facebook users are nothing if not compelling, and people are used to interacting with the site in a casual and informal manner. This is the time to let your brand personality shine through and create (or repurpose) fun and informative content for users.

    Share the love: Facebook is built around the concept of sharing, and this concept remains firmly in place for B2Bs. Post interesting industry related videos, pictures or jokes; as your fans share this content your brand establishes meaningful connections with potential customers.

    Show your talents: Post bios of your industry experts or staff members. Putting a face, or team, behind your brand increases trustworthiness and transparency.

    Push the boundaries:  Why stop at just wall interactions when you can use the many applications that Facebook offers to diversify. Set up a promotions tab to endorse special offers and support lead generation, or use Facebook shopping to boost sales.

    So is Facebook a valuable tool for B2Bs? Yes! It enables personalized interactions, a customized consumer approach and a casual forum for addressing common questions or problems. Set up your B2B Facebook page and capture some of the success that B2Cs have long benefited from; it’s there for the taking!

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  • Stretch Out Your B2B Marketing Content

    Margarita Orlov April 2, 2012
    Stretch Out Your B2B Marketing Content

    Before you figure out how to re-purpose your B2B marketing content you need to define what exactly inbound marketing is.

    • Search Engine Optimization
    • White papers, webinars and podcasts
    • Blogs & Social Media

    In case you looked at that question and weren’t too sure what can be labeled inbound marketing, here’s my version of the definition:

    Inbound marketing is creating incredible content so that when your customers find it they are so impressed that they share it across their social media networks.

    Before you start thinking of how best to stretch your existing resources across inbound marketing channels, let me remind you that with the plethora of information currently available online, magnetic content is key. I’m now going to assume that you’ve accumulated some captivating B2B marketing content that reflects exactly what your buyers are searching for.

    How do you go about re-purposing B2B marketing content?

    Let me count the ways!

    White Papers 

    • Chances are you have a variety of white papers at your disposal. Find one section, rewrite it if you need to and create a blog post with the call to action being the white paper download.

    Case Studies

    • Turn case studies from one industry into a white paper highlighting the main successes of each company.


    • Put an except up on your blog from your eBook, encouraging readers to download the full copy.


    • Take the notes from a slide deck and write a blog post or white paper.
    • If you have a very active Q&A session, publish it in a blog post and promote it through your social media channels.
    • Post the slides from your webinar on SlideShare, then sync that SlideShare content to your LinkedIn account through the integrated app.


    • Get a transcript of the podcast and depending on the length, create a blog post or white paper.


    • Easiest blog post possible: list (and link to!) blog posts for the previous month.
    • Take 5-10 blog posts that are relevant to each other and repurpose it into an eBook.

    Social Media

    • Always add links to your content on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
    • Expand your content’s reach by joining industry related groups on LinkedIn.  Include a link to your content when replying to posts.
    • Take a poll on your social media sites (both LinkedIn and Facebook have polling features) and publish the results in a blog post as industry insight.
    • Give active twitter users a hashtag during a webinar or event. The do a search and turn the tweets into a blog post.

    Other Creative Ways

    • Training new employees by doing a step-by-step demonstration? Capture it! Put it up on YouTube and add it to your resources page. You can also transcribe the training session so you have written instructions – turn them into a series of blog posts about ‘tips & tricks’.
    • Create a ‘kit’ of information. You’ve got blog posts, videos, and whitepapers that all pertain to one vertical (e.g. manufacturing). Bundle it up, put it behind a form. Your customer will be thankful that they don’t have to search your site for all of the relevant information.
    • Is your CEO doing a speech that includes industry or company news? Record it! You can turn it into a podcast, a gated article or even a blog post.
    • Ask your sales team to keep track of frequently asked questions; make a blog post or put it up on your site in the FAQ section.
    • Take pictures from your company outings and humanize your business. Give your organization a personality by sharing this event on your social media channels.
    • Did you make notes at a conference you attended? Is it industry news? Turn it into a blog post.

    Brainstorm! Use these and other ideas then map it out to create an editorial calendar. That way you know you’ll have enough spacing between similar B2B marketing content to hold your readers attention. Also, don’t forget to track it all with analytics and set Key Performance Indicators (KPI) so you can see which content performs best and what to focus on in the next quarter.

    We’re always here to help, so contact PartnerWorks at sales@partnerworks.co to discuss optimizing your inbound marketing efforts.

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  • We’d B2B buying behavior webinarlike to share with you our knowledge of how customers make software buying decisions. If you’d like to learn about changes in B2B buying behaviors and find out how to leverage the web to drive more and improved lead flow, then it’s worth 45 minutes of your time to watch this free, on-demand webinar from PartnerWorks.


    If you’re not convinced that it’s in your best interest to watch this webinar, keep reading…

    B2B buying behaviors have changed in the last 10 years; if your approach to sales hasn’t been adapted to keep up with the shift in buying mentality, then your business may be suffering as a result. It may sound simple, but the truth is, one of the best things you can do to succeed is enhance your relationships with your buyers.

    Ask yourself these questions:

    • Do you truly understand how your buyers think and act?
    • Are you capturing your buyers early in the buying phase and educating them about your products?
    • Are you able to maintain a relationship with buyers if they are not ready to purchase yet?
    • Is your messaging consistent between Marketing and Sales so that your buyers don’t get confused?

    If you answered ‘no’ to any one of these, or even if you’re not 100% sure that it’s a ‘yes’, then there is room for improvement. Don’t leave it to chance, hope is not a strategy!

    There was once a time when buyers engaged in a conversation with suppliers at the beginning of their buying phase, when they were looking for information about how your product could meet their needs. Now you don’t always get to speak for yourself right from the start. Buyers come to you knowing exactly what they want and they’ve already determined how your product matches their requirements.

    When a buyer’s research phase begins they turn primarily to the internet to get their questions answered. They want to know about what you can do for them, but they’re not planning on picking up the phone anytime soon. You need to give them what they’re searching for, but first, they need to find you.

    Have you optimized your online processes?

    The first thing to help you get noticed by buyers is to identify and select the right keywords for what you are selling.

    • Find “Pain based” and “Pain Solution based” keywords
    • Use PPC to get instant traffic
    • Use SEO and Link Building to improve organic rankings
    • Use Remarketing campaigns to re-capture visitors

    To keep buyers interested in your offering you need to select the right offers to display on your site.

    • Develop vertical specific, informative content
    • Use forms that require registration

    When you have their attention, qualify the lead! Implement lead scoring to identify sales-ready leads so that you don’t miss an opportunity. If a buyer is not ready to make a purchase, don’t let them get away. Chances are they are early in the buying phase and gathering the information that will help them make a decision at a later date. Provide them with the information that they are searching for by nurturing your leads. Develop automatically triggered marketing campaigns to send your leads resources.

    If you’re convinced that your business can do better but don’t know where to begin, your next step is to consider a Mini-Review of your website.

    The review should identify:

    • If your website is targeting “Early Buyers”
    • If you are set up to capture “Early Buyers”
    • The effectiveness of your nurture process
    • Recommendations to streamline your processes and improve your lead flow

    Another noteworthy step is to explore your internal procedures. If communications break down between departments, your bottom line can suffer. Determine if your marketing to sales hand-off is efficient and if the messaging is aligned. Buyers receive more information than ever before; your organization does not want to create frustrations where they need not be.

    Watch the ‘Know Your Buyers, Grow Your Leads’ webinar to get more information about how buying behaviors have changed and how you can make this shift work in your favor.



    Contact Enzo DiMichele at any time through email enzo@partnerworks.co or call 604.617.6767 to find out how PartnerWorks can help your business grow its leads. 


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  • Fear Is A 4 Letter Word

    Sharka Chobot March 19, 2012
    Fear Is A 4 Letter Word
    The Many Faces of Fear

    Do you feel stressed? Are you worried about the sluggish economy is impacting your business? Are you anxious about your results this quarter? Feeling tense about your burn rate? Concerned about how little time you spend with the family? We use words like stressed, anxious, worried and concerned daily to express how we are feeling, but what are we really saying? Most of the time, they are simply clever, disguised words for describing one thing…FEAR. Fear of failure, fear of poverty (yes, really, think about it), fear of rejection, fear of loss etc. We are scared half to death, and too scared to admit it to anyone, least of all ourselves!

    Fight or Flight

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  • We Interrupt this Blog to Bring You a Giant Advertisement (or Magnetic Content and the Death of Interruptive Advertising)

    (Okay so “death” might be a bit strong but you have to lead with a snappy title or you are in trouble from the start)

    It is March. So why am I still writing about trends for 2012? I have a blog to write that’s why. And there is nothing people like more than reading about trends – even if other people have written about the very same trend before. In fact, that is what makes it a trend. If only one person wrote about it there is really no trend.

    So let’s step back for a moment. You have something to sell. You need to market this thing. How do you do it?

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  • Dinosaurs Still Roam The Earth

    Bruce Ciarleglio March 8, 2012

    Recently PartnerWorks sent out a very simple, one question survey to a bunch of ERP / CRM partners in an attempt  to get a quick temperature check of what is keeping them awake at night.

    The question we asked was:

    • What is the biggest concern / issue you face in 2012?

    We received hundreds of responses and more than 48% of these responses were related to a lack of sales leads. The people have spoken and they want to know, how exactly can you generate B2B leads.

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