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B2B marketers: forget short-term flings, focus on longer relationships

There is always a point in your life when you realize you need something steady. You want a long-term relationship. Same goes for B2B marketing. Short-term wins seemed good for a while but it is time we start focusing on the long term. Tim Barker, VP marketing EMEA at Salesforce.com has helped Salesforce.com transform from a company of short-term leads to an organization that goes for long-term.

Barker will be speaking at the B2B Marketing Forum on 20th March 2012. We spoke to Barker before the event and asked him to give us already some advice on how to transform. “About one year ago we decided we needed to walk the walk and talk the talk. Before then we were mostly addressing short-term leads, offering knowledge and good content along the way. We decided to change to a company that engages with its customers and supports them wherever possible”, says Barker.

Cross functional

Sales, marketing, customer service are now tackled in a cross functional way. It may sound simple, but the buy-in throughout the company took a while. Luckily Salesforce.com’s CEO Marc Benioff is a big fan of social engagement.

Looking back on the process to get social engagement off the ground, Barker sees that not everyone in the company was supporting to adopt the social enterprise philosophy. “First our PR team saw the potential of using social media to get our messages across. Then we saw that customers were eager to engage with us, and eventually Service followed suit. The marketing team engaged shortly after and finally Sales joined. I think it took longer because content marketing is not about hard sales and short lead times.”

From campaign to content

The hardest part for Marketing was to shift from campaign thinking to content thinking. Barker will be disclosing the experiences of Salesforce.com on how to become a social enterprise, what metrics to use and what they have learned in a break out session at the B2B Marketing Forum.