In the Information Age it’s not hard to find companies buried under piles of customer data and other intelligence that they just don’t know how to utilize effectively. That could be changing, though. Last week a new business-to-business community was unveiled, with the aim of promoting industry-wide collaboration on developing strategies for sales, marketing, and small business executives. The site, B2BBuzz.org, launched on Sept. 28, is led by Hoover’s, Inc. and joined by Selling Power among others.
“The site is focused on solving specific problems that B2B sales, marketing, and small businesses encounter as they progress down the path of information use,” says James Rogers, VP of marketing at Hoover’s. “For example, a first-time entrepreneur may struggle with finding the right customers to target. An experienced salesperson, however, may want to uncover strategic opportunities within his accounts by taking on more of an advisory role. B2BBuzz is designed to help both of these individuals become more mature in the way they use business information.”
As of now the site features self-assessment exams for sales and marketing professionals, as well as small-businesses. These tests are part of the Business Information Adoption Path, which the consortium is currently focusing on to establish a set of best practices to accelerate professionals’ information-use maturity, according to the press release. The baseline for the Business Information Adoption Path will be drawn from the brief self-assessments, which website visitors will be asked to complete, with individual results immediately available.
The B2BBuzz blog explains what happens once a person or company gets its initial results. Users will receive a score that indicates the level of maturity the organization is prepared for. For example, a score between 0 – 6, indicates Basic Capabilities. Organizations with that level should, according to the site, focus on questions such as what companies to target, and how to find new customers. A more sophisticated user with a score upward of 25 should consider how to be a true advisor to customers or how to succeed at real-time listening.
“The Company Information segment is experiencing once-in-decades changes, just a few of which are companies’ spending on their own websites to go directly to prospects; crowd-sourced contacts information; a growing focus on the SMB market; and an increased focus on quality of leads due to the impact of quality on sales and marketing ROI,” says Chuck Richard, Outsell’s VP and lead analyst. B2BBuzz.org hopes to help companies tackle some of these new challenges.
Over the coming months, the consortium aims to publish expert-generated content including training sessions, events, videos, blogs, and other social media. “Whatever we contribute—whether it’s a blog, a video, or a webinar—will be strongly influenced by the experiences we’ve had with our customers,” says Rogers. “Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how they use business information. We’ve helped businesses of all sizes solve problems and formulate best practices. B2BBuzz.org gives us the opportunity to share those insights so that others can avoid pitfalls and accelerate business success.”
Rogers and Gerhard Gschwandtner from SellingPower kicked things off last week with a webinar called “Strategic Business Information: How to Close More Deals and Increase Revenue.” The slides can still be found on the B2BBuzz blog.
The site lists Shore Communications, First Research, and All Business along with SellingPower as contributing members. Over at Outsell Richard says, “From time-to-time, at our discretion, Outsell will contribute extracted content from its studies on sales, marketing, and lead generation to the consortium.”
The community is still in its infancy. Content is still limited, and Hoover’s says it’s looking to grow its network of contributors. B2BBuzz is looking for analysts, vendors, and thought leaders that have compelling insights and practical tips that make success easier for sales, marketing, and small business professionals. Individuals and businesses interested in submitting content can find out more by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. However, Rogers is quick to point out that B2BBuzz is a social community and commentary and discussion is open to all site visitors.
In fact, one might say B2BBuzz is the latest in a line of social networks, only instead of status updates and rudimentary games, the focus is on education. “Initially, social media was dominated by the B2C sector, but now it’s becoming mainstream,” says Rogers. “Business information is more readily available than ever before, so the time is perfect to join these two concepts together to stimulate conversations on best practices in a community approach.”
“Given that [B2BBuzz is] an open forum for all participants and is in no way a commercial venture,” says Richard, “we see it as an additional neutral and independent channel for posting selected key findings.” It remains to be seen what kind of impact B2BBuzz will have on its users. Free access to instructional content from some of the most respected minds in the space can hardly be detrimental, and B2BBuzz is worth watching as the community continues to grow and attempts to help users forge a path through the overflow of information.