Interesting interview here with Chris Keller, VP of Marketing for Health Catalyst, a healthcare IT company. Here are the key lessons learned from the 30-minute interview that could be relevant for B2B marketers seeking to:
- deliver a high-growth lead pipeline, with few lead-capture forms
- establish leadership in a crowded, competitive market, and
- reduce sales cycle (goal from 16 months to 9 months)
He speaks about ‘aggressively educating.’ So produce as much content as possible before the prospect asks for it, but provide it in a patient way.
Build an Education Library
- Focus on customer success stories — all customers participate in customer success stories. The stories are focused on customer outcomes. This group’s marketing team produce 20 customer success stories a year, and have a team of about 18 people of a 25-person team focused on content production, leveraging and ghost writing content from subject matter experts in the company.
- Produce truly educational events — they are not disguised as pitches. No selling, no sponsors, and 100% outcomes focused. 1,000 people come to these events, and they invite competitors and vendors. Analysts participate and they produce data and surveys.
- Produce documentaries — flagship part of events, focused on stories they believe their industry needs to learn about. The documentaries cost as much as it would cost to bring speakers to their events.
- Handbooks for decision makers — significant investment to make really useful content handbooks for industry people.This content is free, and is published on Amazon as a Kindle book.
- Webinars — 50 minutes of the Webinars is 100% focused on education, built with internal subject matter experts. At the 50 minute mark, they ask the audience if they want more information and they are asked a poll question. Only those people who are interested are reached out to and said they were ‘extremely interested.’ They don’t follow up in person with ‘very interested’ — those people will get onto the lead nurturing.
- Research-driven PR — ask poll questions to audiences of 13K people. Got the feedback from 65 people, and published the results. Published that content in a press release without using a PR firm.
Trust the Prospect
This company believes they should trust that the prospects who are worth following up with will reach out and put their hand up. They also believe that putting too much content behind forms limits consumption and annoys prospects. Finally, they believe that excellent educational content builds trust, and is proof of market leadership.
They believe they were creating content for lead generation but instead should have focused on education. When they are interested in a demonstration, they put their hands up. They ask for email only when the next chapter in a series is ready for reading, for example. They focus on giving, not asking.
For one of my clients, we have switched to non-gated content, and rely on LinkedIn for connecting and engaging one-on-one. It works.