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Articles we like.

Never fluffy and definitely not clickbait.

Why B2B Lead Generation Is Dying A Slow Death (And What To Do About It).

The Iron Horse Insight: This article resonates with what we see in B2B marketing and sales: the essence of lead generation needs to be rethought. Understanding account-level activity and change in engagement is key, but it is challenging when buyers choose anonymity until their research is complete. Does your organization currently know how many opportunities it’s losing even before a contact is known? Note: The author’s statement that “70% of the buyer journey is complete before the prospective buyer opts in to engaging with the vendor” is a common misperception. This stems from a SiriusDecisions data point that states 67% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally, which in no way indicates that a salesperson isn’t engaged until more than halfway through the buying cycle.

Read on Forbes Arrow Right

“Learn More” Links: You Can Do Better

The Iron Horse Insight: The phrases “learn more” and “read more” are frequently used as links on websites and, when clicked, redirect to a page with additional information about what the visitor just read. This is bad CX. It doesn’t help clarify or set expectations for what the visitor gets by clicking on the link. If you’re using this crutch on your website today–and we know a lot of you are–there are three ways you can restructure the link. 1) Describe what the visitor will see. 2) Retain the “learn more,” but add in descriptive keywords. 3) Make the paragraph heading a link instead. Going forward, take our suggestion and ban these two phrases as links on your website.

Read on Nielsen Norman Group Arrow Right

How Sales Hustle and Automation Can Hurt Customer Experience

The Iron Horse Insight: If you’re a B2B buyer, odds are you get generic, irrelevant cold emails that create terrible first impressions. The flood of poorly crafted, impersonal emails is driven by automation tools. This can hurt relationships with prospects/customers, especially at scale. How do you prevent this? Go through your sales experience as a potential customer. Fill out marketing forms, receive emails from reps, and listen to voicemails from SDRs from the customer’s perspective. As Brian Carroll notes, “this is eye opening and changes everything”. We agree. Additionally, this exercise can provide guidance on how to use tools like Outreach, SalesLoft, HubSpot, etc. properly in the first place. One effective way to do this is by highlighting examples of automation done wrong to the sales team when training them on the tool. Moreover, when rolling out sales automation systems, be sure to build checks and balances into your processes to monitor customer outreach and engagement.

Read on B2B Lead Blog Arrow Right

How to Fix Bad Writing Before You Type a Single Word

The Iron Horse Insight: As marketers, we rely on the written word to get our point across. Lindsey Quinn breaks down three things to consider before you start writing. 1) Audience. Think of one complex person and write to them, and only them. 2) Objective. Pick one thing you want that one person to think, feel, and, better yet, do after reading your content. Remember, readers, don’t care about your objectives; they care about their own objectives. Help your readers achieve their objectives and they’ll help you achieve yours later. 3) Takeaway. What do you want your readers to remember? Choose one takeaway, put yourself in your readers’ shoes, and deliver what they came for and what you promised.  We’d also add a fourth item. 4. Presentation. Keep in mind where and how your reader is going to read and access the content as this directly impacts content size and format. Far too often marketing content is too broad; it tries to appeal to the masses and suggests that the solution can do everything and solve everything, and as a result, it falls short. Use these tips to focus in on your message and maximize the impact of your words.

Read on the HUSTLE Arrow Right

Lessons from the CMO’s Inbox

The Iron Horse Insight: You and everyone else is trying to get in front of the CMO; however, it’s unlikely. In fact, Rohrs explains in his blog that “6,892 technology companies [are] trying to sell something to CMOs.” That’s a lot of competition. Instead of targeting a CMO directly, Rohrs suggests that BDRs should target front-line marketers. Their inboxes are less cluttered and they’re more likely to understand the value of your product, service, or solution because they are the end-users and they’re the ones feeling the pain in their daily jobs. We agree with (and really like) Rohr’s idea. In building on it, we urge you to take into consideration the size of the company that your BDRs are expected to target. For instance, it’s more likely to get a response from a CMO at a <$25m company than get a response from a CMO at a major enterprise so, if/when BDRs are targeting a SMB, we suggest they target C-level execs in addition to front-line personnel. If they’re targeting an enterprise, we suggest following Rohrs’ advice.

Read on MarTech Advisor Arrow Right

Why We Published a Book as Part of Our Content Marketing and Branding Strategy

The Iron Horse Insight: Every B2B company publishes white papers, case studies, and the like, but relatively few put out an actual book. Publishing a book is daunting for any marketing team because it takes a substantial investment of time and energy – time and energy that can be applied to faster turn marketing goals and objectives. That said, publishing a book can bolster brand awareness, generate higher quality leads, and it creates credibility for the author(s) as a thought leader. In addition, this process and it’s end deliverable (a book) generates a wealth of content that can be repurposed to create derivative assets such as presentations, blog posts, briefs, and infographics.

Read on Evergage Arrow Right

How To Score a Perfect 100% on Google Pagespeed Insights

The Iron Horse Insight: Patel’s blog post is long. Very long. But, it’s worth the read if you’re looking for a cost effective way to optimize your website. Patel painstakingly walks you through how to increase pagespeed load times and even includes screenshots. According to Patel, Google rewards websites with fast pagespeed load times by putting them closer to the top of search results. When was the last time you clicked on something after the first page of search results? If you’re anything like us, it’s probably been a while (if ever). You’re also probably quick to hit the “x” at the top of your browser if the website takes more than a second or two to load. Website pagespeed load time should be a top priority for any company building a website from scratch or one that is in the process of optimizing their website. Doing so improves customer experience, increases marketing conversion rates, and increases the number of organic search results your site receives.

Read on NIELPATEL Arrow Right

Marketers: Stop Complaining About a “Noisy World – “Noise Is Not Your Problem”

The Iron Horse Insight: If you’re overly broad with your messaging and you try to do what everyone else is doing, it’s going to be very hard (if impossible) for you to differentiate yourself from your competition. Rather, Acunzo suggests using creative thinking to find some “white space” and to “own something outright.” It’s easier to be creative with your messaging when you’re acutely focused on a target market. In a “SmartCompany” article, Seth Godin shares a similar sentiment to Acunzo and explains that, with a narrow focus, “problems [a company will] face and the solutions [they] can offer become much more specific, too.” The idea of a narrow focus allows you to move quickly, make mistakes quickly, and iterate quickly, which helps you stay ahead of your competition.


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