2 Lessons Learned From Interviewing

  |  July 15, 2013   |  Comments

If you're a B2B customer interviewing providers for your business, remember to listen and clarify and speak the same language.

Lately I've been spending a lot of time interviewing candidates for a role I'm hiring for at my company. The whole process is quite involved (by design) and I've come across some interesting people and stories. When I take a step back and think about all the recent conversations I've had, I realize that interviewing a job candidate for a specific role is a lot like a B2B customer interviewing providers for their business.

Both of these situations can take awhile from start to finish and have many steps in the journey. As I've had multiple interviews recently, I've honed in on two areas that candidates have either done really well with or completely missed the mark. To help us better engage with potential B2B buyers, I find that these areas can also apply to how successful we are at executing our marketing campaigns:

  1. Listen and clarify. A job candidate should be interviewing the company she is applying to just as much as the hiring manager that's interviewing the candidate. This makes it important for candidates to listen carefully during the interview for descriptions of the role, company, culture, etc. On top of listening, the candidate should ask clarifying questions to confirm she understood properly instead of just making assumptions. As we run our marketing campaigns, there are a few key ways marketing automation can help us listen and clarify at scale.

    To begin, proper tagging of our website(s) and tracking of our campaigns can help us to "listen" to our clients and prospects. This allows us to track visitor behavior on our website, understand campaign engagement, and integrate that data with our CRM databases. By knowing what areas of the site or pieces of content a visitor is most interested in, we can begin to better understand what she may be looking for and align our campaigns accordingly.

    However, we don't always have all the data we need or we may need to dig deeper to clarify what a prospect is truly looking for. Tools like progressive profiling can help us to ask additional questions to those contacts where we may be missing information or need to better understand their needs.

  2. Speak the same language. As I discuss the role and responsibilities with applicants, I get a better sense that they'd fit in when we're using similar language. If I'm talking about goals and strategy and all they can speak to is executing a campaign, I'll question if we'll ever be on the same page if they were to join the team. The same can be true when we're creating messaging for our marketing campaigns. Focusing on the right language is key to engagement and helping our target contacts see that the partnership could be a good fit.

    Try to map language to the stage of the buying process a prospect is in. If the prospect is engaging with more high-level thought-leadership content pieces, she may be in the initial research stages and be more receptive to "learn more"- or "sign up for more insights"-type messaging. Or, if she's on a pricing page, we're more likely to be successful pushing her toward a demo or to speak with a sales rep.

    Also, messaging can vary by industry. Our product or service may be relevant to multiple industries, like retail, financial services, travel, etc., but the challenges these companies face and success metrics they track can be different. As a result, we should let each type of company know about the solutions we have for their unique needs instead of speaking to general challenges and solutions. If we focus our messaging too broadly, we may miss the connection.

At the end of the day, there are many other pieces that can impact the success of an interview or a marketing campaign. But hopefully these two areas will help you get that much closer to bringing in more qualified buyers!

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Stacie Levy

Stacie is senior director of marcom and PR at Kenshoo, a digital marketing technology company backed by Sequoia Capital, Arts Alliance, and Tenaya Capital. Kenshoo powers nearly half of the Fortune 50 and all 10 top global ad agency networks.

Prior to joining Kenshoo, Stacie worked as director of client strategy and development at Resolution Media, an Omnicom Media Group Company. In this role, she was responsible for overseeing the growth of key accounts, in addition to leading Resolution Media's account management practice. During her tenure, Stacie led relationships with brands like Bank of America, Gatorade, Norwegian Cruise Line,, Sirius XM, and State Farm, while working with partner agencies to ensure all search programs are integrated into the overall marketing mix. Prior to Resolution Media, Stacie worked as an account manager at Nielsen Claritas. There she was responsible for managing and growing relationships with key clients, such as Sprint, US Cellular, Alltel Wireless, and Charter Communications.

Stacie graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a degree in Marketing. When she's off the clock, Stacie enjoys yoga, rooting for Wisconsin football teams, and exploring her new state, Colorado.

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