Stan Woods is the Managing Director of Velocity which he set up in 2001 with Econsultancy guest blogger Doug Kessler. Velocity specialises in B2B marketing for technology firms.

Stan will be speaking at Econusltancy’s FUNNEL B2B marketing evebt next week, looking at using content marketing to segment and engage your audience.

In these videos, Stan speaks about his upcoming presentation and the relationship between sales and marketing…

On content marketing and B2B:

Most marketing used to be about what the vendor did. Now content marketing gives you the chance to talk about what your customers’ problems are. If you can produce content that inspires your customers, answers their major problems in their day job, they’re much more likely to come to you. Even better, you can measure just how successful your content is.

The problem is that as everyone understands content is the key for B2B marketing, the quality bar for content is ever-higher, which means you need to do less of it, but much, much better – which comes at a cost.

And nowadays, you’re able to explore a whole range of different content types: video, audio, slideshare, prezzi, ebook, landing page, e-newslettter…

One of the big challenges as you begin to embrace content is that it’s going to change the structure of most companies’ marketing departments. The whole team is going to be structured around how you do you build plan and measure content – that requires different people. 

The relationship between sales and marketing

Marketing is now in control of the sales funnel in a way it never has been before. Marketing is now responsible for finding those early stage leads in the funnel, making sure they’re qualified, and that they’re exactly the sort of leads that Sales want to call and to sell to.

What that means is a fundamentally new relationship between Sales and Marketing. So it’s super-important for them to agree what constitutes a lead: what’s its nature, what segments to look at, how big is the company, how many of them do we need? And then it’s Marketing’s job to generate those leads before handing them over to Sales.

Marketing needs to demand KPIs from Sales so that it hands over sales-qualified leads, so that it knows Sales will respond to them in a timely way, and in the right way. 

All marketing programmes that use the web need to kick off with an intensive dialogue between Sales and Marketing, and then continue with an ongoing conversation to tweak the campaign going forward.

Analytics and B2B marketing

What’s happened over the last couple of years is that there’s a new breed of analytics-driven marketers, who are desperate to justify the spend that companies are making on marketing.

They want to revolutionise how Marketing departments are moving. Starting in 2007, it’s gathered speed in the last 18 months or so, with B2B marketing companies embracing this analytics, technology platform and actually starting to feed it with great content. 

The missing link is still the great content. Most B2B companies’ content is bland and dull, and will never move the market. The challenge is to create exciting, engaging content that speaks to people as if they’re humans and not as procurement managers or finance directors or technical specialists.

There’s a long way to go but at least the infrastructure is appearing in most places so we’re getting ready.

FUNNEL, Econsultancy’s B2B marketing conference takes place at Emirates Stadium, 13 November 2012. FUNNEL was created to help bring together sales and marketing teams to define better ways of turning awareness into interest and interest into revenue – while tracking the entire cycle.

Find out how you can align your marketing and sales efforts at FUNNEL.