Jewel, a CFO and 2,500 B2B Marketers Walk Into a Room…

As the CFO of a software company, the prospect of attending a three-day B2B marketing conference can be daunting. Where do I fit in amid a sea of marketers? Fortunately, the SiriusDecisions 2017 Summit had a little bit of everything for everyone. The highlight for me came from the one person there *seemingly* more out of place than I was – acclaimed singer/songwriter Jewel.

No overnight success – sound familiar?

Jewel was living in a van when she was discovered. One year later, she was opening for Bob Dylan and Neil Young. A few months after that, she was a superstar in her own right – her debut album “Pieces of You” had sold 12 million copies. That type of skyrocketing growth is not something we often see in B2B marketing and sales.  Some of us have sales cycles that take longer than Jewel’s rise to fame. Or at least that’s how it seemed at first blush.

But we soon learned that Jewel’s success was the result of many years of hard work leading to her tipping point. She began her musical career at age 6. She learned to yodel while growing up in the Alaskan wilderness – and ultimately played small coffee shops in the San Diego area before her career really took off. So, much like a sales cycle for B2B sales and marketers, building a music career took time.

Becoming a “whole human”

Jewel spoke about something that really stuck with me – the process and desire to become a “whole human.” Every one of us has multiple aspects of our life where we strive to perform and succeed – from career to parenting to other relationships and more. Without success and balance across each of those aspects, every facet of our life suffers as a result – our work, our family life, our physical and mental well-being. Jewel pointed out that when we are not a “whole human,” we are afraid to be entrepreneurs at work. We lose sight of our objectives. We lead less fulfilling lives. So true.

What a four-time Grammy nominee and B2B marketers have in common

During her opening keynote at the SiriusDecisions 2017 Summit, Jewel left me with two very clear, compelling and relevant messages:

  • We need to be confident in ourselves – and push the envelope toward new and better ways to reach our customers and prospects. I couldn’t agree more. Let’s take predictive intelligence as one example of a powerful way to connect with customers and prospects. It helps you find where a customer or prospect is in the buyer’s journey and shows you what their needs are – so you can approach them with the confidence that you are offering the solutions they need. The confidence that you are bringing them something useful. Something that can solve their problems. Something that can make their work – and their lives – easier. Which brings us to Jewel’s next point.
  • In a conference full of talk about leads, contacts, prospects and customers – we need to remember that we are marketing and selling to humans. We’re dealing with people here, people! People who are forever on the prowl for ways to simplify their lives. Sometimes they’ll be “whole humans,” and sometimes they won’t be. The bottom line is, we can’t lose the human element. Ever. We need to think of B2B more as H2H. Human to human. Here’s why.

Research has shown that B2B purchasing is a highly personal, emotional process. This makes perfect sense when we think about it. B2B buyers are making business-critical decisions for their organizations, so there’s a lot at stake for them: their reputation at work, their opportunity for advancement, perhaps even their job security. B2B buyers are people with families, goals and dreams. Just like I am. Just like you are.

The key is to make a strong personal connections with B2B buyers. How? Show them empathy – and build their trust. Going in with early knowledge and understanding of their problems gives you a leg up. From there, it has never been more important to tell stories that resonate with your customers and prospects on a very real, very personal level. Because their personal feelings will weigh heavily into whether they purchase your product or service – or not.

Remember we’re all human

Last week in Las Vegas, we were 2,500 B2B marketers, 99 vendors, numerous sales people and two CFOs (yes – I found another one there!) gathered to advance the ‘bleeding edge’ of marketing. There was the usual exchange of ideas around technology, tactics and campaigns. But we walked away with the poignant reminder that when you strip all of that away, you’re simply left with humans. Not leads or prospects, not marketers or CFOs. Humans.

Maybe even a human, like me, who finds himself humming, “My hands are small I know, but they’re not yours, they are my own…and I am never broken.”

Want to reach out to a customer or prospect already knowing what they need and where they are in the buyer’s journey? Learn more about how predictive intelligence can you help you do that.

Want ideas on how to tell stories that reach your customers and prospects on a very personal level? Check out these five storytelling tips for B2B marketers.

What do you think of Jewel’s advice for B2B marketers? We want to hear from you!

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