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Content Management Sales Effectiveness -- Why don't the old strategies work anymore?

Sep 19, 2016 2:38:41 PM by John Mancini

Why don't our old content management sales strategies work anymore?  

Here are the core reasons I see:

Content management itself is changing rapidly.  

We've been through A LOT of changes in the "people-process-technology intersection" business.   (see my post, Preparing for the Era of Intelligent Machines for what I mean.)

We've had the Document Management and Workflow era.  We' ve been through the Enterprise Content Management era.  We're in the midst of the Mobile and Cloud era. These changes are coming faster and faster.  And most importantly, a new era does not mean the previous one goes away; it's just stacked on top!

At times, the content management business at the high end of the market (Fortune scale customers) feels an awful lot like a zero-sum, "I'll try to take share away from someone else and meanwhile I'll ride service and maintenance revenues" business.

On the other hand, it's a great time to be in the content biz.  Organizations are realizing that content is core to creating amazing customer experiences.  Large scale users are having challenges connecting up all the technology and stacks of capabilities they've bought over the past decade. "ECM" has become one element in Digital Transformation strategies that combine content, BI, and CRM capapbilities. We're in a different game, and we're maybe not the only game in town, but it's a very strategic game.


Meanwhile, there's a ton of very different business among small and mid-sized organizations. "Good enough" SaaS-based content management and file sync and share (#EFSS) capabilities are all around us.  Basic, good enough business process automation is now: a) within the reach of a host of companies for whom it was previously unaffordable; and b) is now available by the drink through SaaS solutions rather than buy the gallon.  Content management applications represent a fairly mature set of technology capabilities, but also a very green and largely untouched market space.

As different as the two markets above are, they share one thing in common -- neither group is interested in buying "technology" -- they want solutions.  And that brings me to the second core reason why content management sales is a tough game right now:

Content management sales effectiveness has not kept up with changes in the market.

According to CEB (the Challenger sales people), "57% of the buyer’s journey is complete before the first customer contact with a supplier.”  Gartner notes that "Customers rate their sales person as the least influential interaction in the buying process.”  

AIIM research among content management sales and marketing folks reinforces this.  71% of the sales and marketing people we surveyed agree with this statement: "B2B business buyers are increasingly benefitting from cloud, mobile, consumerization, and the internet of things, but many sales reps still work like they did in 1966.”


The problem is not a lack of generic sales skills and training (whether it be SPIN Selling, Challenger Selling, the Sandler Selling System, or whatever).

The problem is not a lack of product knowledge.  My experience is that companies do a pretty good job of this.

The problem is a lack of the domain and process knowledge necessary to make a good business case.  It's a lack of the expertise needed to move beyond technology selling and help customers craft solutions.  It's a reliance on past technology deployment models calling for big bangup front professional services payouts before any real value has been created.

I think it's time to take our solutions game up a notch.

Some of my ideas are in this presentation.  


Take a look and let me know what you think.  If you'd like to grab some time to talk and how we might help, use this scheduling link.

You might also be interested in getting on the email distribution list for this blog -- HERE.

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Topics: B2B, content management, ecm, business process management, efss

An E-Mail Dilemma for Content Management Marketing Effectiveness

Jul 26, 2016 12:59:53 PM by John Mancini

We all wrestle with the question of keeping prospects engaged.

But what happens if things seem to be at the "end" of the engagement journey?  What do you do? How do you allow people who are no longer interested in your offerings to gracefully exit?  

There are many reasons why this can happen:

  • You’re emailing them too frequently.
  • Your emails have started to feel stale.
  • They just wanted your piece of your content.
  • They no longer need what you offer.

Why is this something to be concerned about?  Why not just keep sending people email?

Because reputation is everything.

Spam Complaints + Bounce Backs = Bad Sender Reputation

So it's important to scrub your list periodically.  But how should you do this?

And how do you identify those WHO STILL WANT TO BE CONNECTED?

By focusing on those who are REALLY interested, can you improve your content management sales effectiveness?

In this Content Management Marketing Clinic, AIIM Marketing Director Tony Paille explores this question, discusses the criteria AIIM uses to determine disengagement, the workflows used to manage this process, and the metrics achieved.  Check it out.

Interested in finding out how AIIM can help you get visibility for your products and services?  

Go HERE.  Find out about AIIM Sponsorship Activities.


Why don't the old content management sales strategies work anymore?  I think it's time to take our solutions game up a notch.  Some of my thoughts in this presentation:



Take a look and let me know what you think.  If you'd like to grab some time to talk and how we might help, use this scheduling link.

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Topics: content marketing, marketing, content management marketing

5 Ways Keywords Impact Content Management Marketing Effectiveness

Jun 15, 2016 2:27:17 PM by John Mancini

This post will be one in a series designed to share some of the lessons we’ve learned at AIIM about how to market content and information management solutions. The post is based on one of our “Marketing Clinic” webinars that we do monthly to share best practices and experiences. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday, July12 at 11 am -- it's free -- register HERE. The topic will be "Why are Inactive Prospects a Good Potential Source of Leads."  Save a spot HERE.

Note -- this is a new blog for Content Management Marketing Peeps.  Cast your eyes to the right, and you'll see a subscribe box.  Never miss a post, and you decide whether you want them instantly, daily, or weekly.

A Guide to Improving Your  Content Management Marketing Effectiveness Free Download

5 Things We’ve Learned About Keywords, SEO, and ECM Marketing Effectiveness

A core assumption: When it comes to keywords, I really think that you have to be in the top three organic search results. If you imagine a Google search, you have three or four paid ads usually that are at the top. After that are the organic search results. 60-70% of Google traffic is built on the first three organic search results, so it’s pretty important to be positioned there. If you want to be a bit more generous, you can expand your focus to the top ten results -- essentially the first page of any Google search. Anything beyond that, you're really way, way off in the long tail, and not terribly relevant in answer the question of how to market content management solutions.

[An aside at this point -- we’re a Hubspot customer, so I guess you could say that I have a very “Hubspottian” view of the world. That doesn't mean that the concepts I’ll talk about in this article aren't extendable into other marketing platforms. But the screenshots I’ll use are from our Hubspot implementation.]

For those who don’t know us, we do content marketing at very, very large scale given that we are an industry association. We like to think that we've learned a lot, but we also realize that there's a ton of things that we still don't know. But these 5 strategies are a snapshot of what we've learned along the way.

#1 -- Start with Who.

Who are you trying to target and what are you actually trying to do?

It seems basic, but many organizations skip right over this stage. It’s one that I feel is critically important to aligning keyword tactics with your overall marketing strategy. In our work at AIIM, we focus on three main personas.

The first person we focus on is Consultant Chris

The second is Professional Development Pam

The third persona -- actually representing the group that's growing most quickly within the AIIM database -- is Project Pat

#2 -- Understand the Why.

All content strategy needs to start with the Buyer’s Journey. Consider this graphic from Hubspot:

It’s frankly taken us awhile, but one of the key things we’ve learned is that the kind of content a potential buyer needs -- and their willing to trade information about themselves in exchange for that content -- varies greatly depending on where you are in the Buyer’s Journey.

#3 -- Generic and Short Feels Good, But is Meaningless When it Comes to Keywords.

Is is tempting to hop immediately into a set of keywords that are as broad as possible in an attempt to grab as wide an audience as possible. Wrong move. In our case, a broad startegy leads to keywords like training, or OCR, or cloud, or big data, or mobile. [Analysis out of our Hubspot engine.]

Keyword Difficulty (out of 100) Rank
Training 97 100+
OCR 97 100+
Cloud 98 100+
Big Data 99 100+
Mobile 99 100+

These are very, very generic words. They are also very, very highly valued words. As you can see from this internal screenshot, they are also very difficult words around which to get any traction. Even though they feel good, they are pretty much useless keywords.

#4 -- Map Keywords to Buyer’s Journey Problems.

The Buyer’s Journey for AIIM ultimately leads to purchase of training, certification, or membership. So as we think about keywords, we try to focus on understanding how people “think” about a “content problem” before they even realize they have a content problem, how they eventually come to label and understand that problem, and then help them understand the training, education, and information resources that are available to help them along on their journey.

A examples will help you understand.

Samples of AWARENESS stage keywords -- What does the problem look/feel like?

Keyword Difficulty (out of 100) Rank
information chaos 87 1
managing information 89 3
management of information 84 3

Samples of CONSIDERATION stage keywords -- What is the problem called?

Keyword Difficult (out of 100) Rank
what is collaboration? 83 1
what is information management? 80 2
what is enterprise content management? 88 2

Samples of DECISION stage keywords -- What solutions exist to solve the problem?

Keyword Difficulty (out of 100) Rank
information governance training 20 1
ECM training 62 1
information management skills 78 1

#5 -- Integrate Keywords into Content.

You can have all the great keywords in the world that you want, very descriptive and matched to personas, very matched to the business journey that somebody is on, but if you're not disciplined about how you use them in your content, then you don't really accomplish much.

I'll be absolutely honest with you as someone who does a lot of blogging and does a lot of content creation, this is the piece that I often neglect. I get to the end of a blog post, I push publish, and out it goes. Relief spreads as I check another assignment off the list.

But all of a sudden I think, wait a minute. What exactly was this post designed to accomplish? Who is it targeted at? Does it have any of the keywords we spent some much time and effort developing? How is it positioned relative to those keywords? Oops. 

So a quick checklist with regards to keywords and ECM marketing effectiveness, and in particular, blog posts. In our case, our Hubspot engine helps keep me honest with regards to these:
  1. Are there keywords in the title?
  2. Is the title unique?
  3. Is the title the right length for discovery by Google?
  4. Does the title contain a URL (it shouldn’t!)
  5. Are there keywords in the content? (But not too many, or you’ll look spammy.)
  6. Is the meta description for the post different from the title, does it contain keywords, and is it the right length for Google?
  7. Do you have H1 tags in the post, and do they contain keywords?
  8. Does your post contain relevant (emphasis on “relevant”) external links?

Some additional resources that may be useful (all FREE):

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Topics: keywords, content marketing, seo, content management marketing

Human Resources -- Worth a bit of Sales Enablement Training?

Jun 15, 2016 11:58:56 AM by Atle Skjekkeland

A New Breed of Technology Buyer

87% of AIIM solution providers think the growth in IT spending is coming from the business buying IT, not IT staff buying IT. IT is still relevant, but only when the organization has established a project for buying a new or replacing an existing solution.

IT was traditionally sold top-down with change management, but the freemium model for consumer technologies is now the new way to also sell B2B technologies. 68% of AIIM solution providers claim cloud and consumerization is changing the buying phases from plan buy-implement to try-buy-scale. This has already the adoption model for new solution providers like Slack, Box, DropBox, and Evernote.

We asked 173 HR professionals in the US about their document intensive processes. Here are some of the findings:

There's a lot more to share with you. DOWNLOAD the executive summary.  It has lots of data and information on content management sales enablement

I would be delighted to chat with you about AIIM sales enablement training once you've reviewed the findings. Just send me a message.


Have you seen this presentation on moving from managed print services to managed content services?  Check it out HERE.

Download Your Briefing


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Topics: managed content services, human resources, business applications, sales enablement

Proving Content Management Marketing Effectiveness and ROI Still a Challenge

May 1, 2016 4:17:12 PM by John Mancini

So how do you prove ROI? Many marketers we deal with at AIIM on a day to day basis view this purely through the prism of lead quantity. In fact, AIIM itself sometimes feeds into this perception. Many of our sponsored programs (white papers, webinars, etc.) do at times focus mostly on the number of leads generated. For 60% of the marketers we surveyed, “increasing the number of leads” was one of their core objectives. So far, so good.

Download the free Marketing Effectiveness Benchmark survey

However, the reality facing marketers is more complex than just sheer numbers. Yes, quantity matters. But the quality of leads is of even greater importance. “Converting contacts and leads to customers” -- a lead quality and lead nurturing question -- ranks even higher in our survey (71%) than quality. This need to generate both leads and to move those leads through a qualification and nurturing process is one of the reasons we’ve introduced AIIM Enhanced Lead Nurturing Services.

Beyond the sheer question of the number and quality of leads is the obvious question of exactly how -- whether? -- marketing effectiveness and ROI is measured. If the impact of marketing is not measured regularly and consistently, most analyses of its effectiveness become little more than guesswork. In our survey, only 10% of organizations systematically measure marketing effectiveness; 38% either don’t measure it or wing it. 

In case you missed my #AIIM16 Keynote, here it is!  Pass it around.


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Topics: content management marketing

I don't want your stinking gmail address.

Jan 20, 2016 11:21:33 AM by John Mancini

Twice in the last 5 minutes I came across something a bit new -- at least for me -- and I thought I would ping the network and see what people think.  To be honest, I'm not quite sure what I think.

Here's the issue.  In a B2B environment, do personal email addresses have any value?

Here are two screen shots.  The first was from -- a very awesome corporate governance site of which I am a member.

As you can see, a BUSINESS email address (assuming a .com or .org) is necessary to register, and registration is rejected with a personal email address (in this case, gmail).

The second example is on the site -- another very awesome site, BTW -- and the example is tied to downloading a whitepaper on digital transformation.  The whitepaper was sponsored by Oracle, so I am assuming the requirement for a "business" email address is tied to their requirements.

So in thinking about this, here's a bit of personal background on my own email practices.  

A personal New Year's resolution for me was to clean up my email habits. My account has gotten so clogged with newsletters and other communications -- most of which I opted in for, I freely admit. But the cumulative impact has been to crowd out the transactional AIIM emails (both internal and external) that I need to act on in a more timely way -- emails requiring a decision from peers and members.  So I made the decision that I would clear all of these commuications out of my account, and consciously choose which to continue and which to not, but to do so in my personal email account.

The reason for doing this in my personal email account is that I have come to the conclusion that actually CONSUMING and DIGESTING this kind of information best occurs in a more reflective environment -- my personal email -- and not one cluttered up by all the day to day business issues I need to address.  So the issue is NOT that I am uninterested, nor is it that I have ceased to be the John Mancini at AIIM. I'm interested! And it's not that I don't want you to know who I am -- I'm happy to provide basic fields of demographic data to tell you in exchange for the information.

So what do people think?  

For my marketing friends out there in AIIM sell-side companies, do you place any value on personal email addresses? Why or why not?  What do YOU think is the path to content management marketing effectiveness

And for all of my user friends out there, how are YOU dealing with the question of balancing email overload and keeping up with your day to day email-based decision-making with the need to stay informed?


Check out our marketing Benchmark survey -- Free

content management marketing effectiveness


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Topics: email management, information governance, content, content marketing

3 Strategies - From Managed Print Services to Managed Content Services

Jul 13, 2015 1:43:00 PM by John Mancini

Per AIIM’s recent Content Management 2020 report, the times they are a changing for content management. The industry we have known as “ECM” (Enterprise Content Management) is morphing into something very different than it has been.

There is more “content” than ever before – in exponentially increasing volumes and in a host of new forms.  Defining what exactly “content” is – and how it is different from data – is becoming more and more problematic. Managing this “content” is becoming more critical than ever before to business success. The focus of content management has shifted from document and content specialists – a tiny subset of people in most organizations – to a broad base of knowledge workers struggling with complex, content-intensive, and often ad-hoc processes.

And most importantly, there are far more “flavors” of content management solutions than ever before.  There are the traditional ECM solutions, with their roots in transactionally focused, large-volume, mission critical content processes. A lot of these solutions are now part of a suite of information management capabilities that range far beyond ECM and increasingly manifest themselves as adaptive case management. There are all the sync and share content solutions that provide “good enough” ECM for many organizations. There are ECM solutions that start with legal processes like e-discovery and have compliance and information control at their core. And a host of other “flavors” and combinations of these flavors.  [Note: I can see a series of blog posts coming!]

Moving from Managed Print Services to Managed Content Services

Some of the most interesting recent entrants to the ECM space come from companies looking to move from Managed Print Services (MPS) to Managed Content Services (MCS). These include companies like Lexmark, Xerox, HP, Konica-Minolta, Ricoh, Canon, Kyocera, and Toshiba. (I’m sure I’m leaving some out – if I am, add them as a comment and I’ll refresh this list.)

This market transition is still in its early stages. Per Gartner, “Although some services and solutions that fall under MCS have been in the field for five to 10 years, MCS is still an early stage service offering.”

In some ways, Lexmark has become the poster child for this segment of the industry, and especially so with the recent acquisition of Kofax.  Consider some of their acquisitions over the past five years:

Of course, this “flavor” of content management is more than just the hardware (becoming software) vendors. It also carries with it a massive channel of copier dealers and distributors – a channel many times larger than the traditional ECM channel. IDC pegs just the small/medium business portion of the worldwide Managed Print Services market at $13 billion.  With a B.

This transition from MPS to MCS is easier said than done. Hardware companies do not become software companies just by saying it is now their “strategy.” Channel partners focused on selling hardware to office managers do not become solution partners to IT and line of business executives simply by wishing it. Per Darrell Amy of DealerMarketing, “Customers are confused. Sales reps are confused. Marketing is chaotic.”

I think there are three basic market strategies for the vendors and their channel partners in this Managed Content Services segment: 1) target business leaders with a top down process assessment; 2) target knowledge workers with viral tools to build critical mass from the ground up (in the same vein as that taken by the enterprise file sync and share players); and 3) target IT executives by making a cost rationalization and infrastructure argument.  

At the core of these market strategies is a need for greater training and market education – for the key vendors AND their channel partners.  Peter Drucker used to say that, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” That has never been more true than for those companies trying to migrate from management print services to managed content services, especially since so many of the players have been SO successful in the former. Changing behavior is never easy, but it is especially difficult when trying to change behavior that has been successful.

My colleague Atle Skjekkeland has built a very interesting presentation exploring these three options. Check it out HERE and find out more about AIIM Sales Enablement Training and the challenges of transitioning from print services to content services.

Download the MPS -> MCS briefing


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Topics: ecm, managed print services, managed content services, MPS, MCS

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