Business to Business Marketing and Lead Generation

This post is a book review of MarketingSherpa’sB-to-B Lead Generation Handbook” 2008-2009 Edition.

Introduction and Disclaimer

I have been thinking about writing this post for some time now. It happens rarely that I feel the urge to pitch a product and push people to buy it where I am absolutely convinced that they will be glad that they did and don’t care about getting an incentive or commission for doing it. But there is the risk that people who read it at a site like ReveNews.com would claim that I only wrote it to push a product for my own benefits; a dilemma that is tough to solve and the reason why I was holding back for so long.

I have now decided to ignore the risk and pitch the product anyway. I will also disclose in more detail my involvement with the creator of the product and leave it up to the reader to decide, if my recommendation is genuine or just a cheap self promotional pitch for my own benefits.

The MarketingSherpa B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook 2008-09

The guide arrived in a big and heavy box and I thought what on earth this could be. It was the draft version of the MarketingSherpa B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook 2008-09 then still called the B-to-B Marketing Handbook 2008-09.
The handbook is over 500 pages thick and the biggest book that I have ever seen released by the Sherpa to this day. Most of their other guides, benchmarks or handbooks are 200-300 pages and dwarfed by this one.

The book is packed through the roof with data charts, eye-tracking heat-maps, written and visual real world example creative’s, statistics, tips, general how-to’s and best practices. It has basically everything that you need to do be a more successful marketer who promotes business to business products and services. This is not an exaggeration by any means. If you are an Affiliate Manager responsible for recruiting affiliates or a network that needs to recruit advertisers and performing affiliates alike, then B2B marketing is what you already do or should do, if you haven’t done so before.

It is a Manual and not just a Handbook

The word “Handbook” in the title of this book can be taken literally, although “Manual” would have been a bit more accurate. This is what this book should be in your marketing department.

It should be the manual for newly hired staff to learn the do’s and don’ts and the how-to and the reference to look up information to specific subject for the experienced marketers and veterans.

It’s a fountain of information, tips and tricks and stats for B2B marketers, covering every possible aspect, beyond just online. One of the other great parts of the book are the practical tips to get Marketing and Sales work in conjunction with each other, which is in reality hard to do at best. Often are marketing and sales not aligned very well and see each other as a necessary evil that only tries to take away time to do your work properly. It also provides a dictionary to make sure that marketers and sales guys speak the same language when it counts to avoid misunderstandings.

Free Glimpse at the Book

Listing the 14 pages long Table of Contents would be a bit too much, but it does give you a better understanding about what subjects the book covers. The full Table of Contents is included in the free PDF download of the 22 pages Executive Summary . That is nice and very helpful.

The remaining pages include examples and highlights of the book. This will allow you to have a glimpse at the content and its quality for yourself to make up your own mind, if this book is something for you or not. The free excerpt can be downloaded here .

Cost-Benefit Consideration

The handbook is not cheap and probably not affordable for small affiliate programs or B2B marketing departments that are management part time only. If you have one or more people on staff that does marketing full-time, the investment into this book will pay for itself quickly.

The regular price is $697 and here is the direct link to it. I just found out myself, that the $200 off promotion is exclusive to some partners of MarketingSherpa. I should have read the emails from their AM a bit more carefully I guess. Since $200 is a sizable chunk of savings, it would be irresponsible of me, not mentioning it to you. You can find an affiliate link to get this discount on my website. I will get commission on it though, just FYI.

Disclosure

I received a draft copy of the B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook then still called the B-to-B Marketing Handbook free to review to let the Sherpa know what I think about it. I received a few benchmark guides free over the past 2 years or so, but bought several benchmark guides and buyers guides myself years earlier already (I spent way more than $1,000 on their products out of my own pockets).

When Cumbrowski.com started growing from a Family website to an industry resource in 2006, MarketingSherpa rejected me as an affiliate at first. I responded to the email that notified me about the rejection that I will link to their stuff anyway, affiliate or not, because I believe that their products are great and highly relevant for the people who are interested in my collections of resources on my website. It would only be fair to pay me a small commission, for the few occasional referrals from my site and that I will be a low maintenance affiliate hehe.

They responded and decided to let me become an affiliate for them anyway and this relationship continued after MarketingSherpa was acquired by Marketing Experiments in November 2006. I refer new customers to them constantly, not high volume, but it is B2B and a niche within B2B, so what is volume there anyway?

I also know that many referrals where I played a part in it are not being tracked and no commission is being paid for them. Getting a free version (often draft) of a benchmark guide or buyers guide could be seen as a compensation of that not-tracked referrals, but I also believe that the Sherpa appreciates my comments and feedback that I am willing to provide to help them improve on their products.

I am still a paying member, which cost several hundred dollars per year to get access to their vast repository of articles, how-to’s, case studies, survey data and statistics.

There you have it. That’s my relationship with MarketingSherpa. I can true and honestly recommend any of their great products to anybody in marketing and suggest to anybody who does not about them yet but considers himself a professional marketer to check them out. I have not been to any of the several industry events that are organized by the Sherpa to provide you with first hand information and opinion about them, but I am sure that those highly specialized and targeted events are worthwhile for any professional marketer who is specialized in the segment that is subject of the event. I cannot believe that somebody who produces such quality resource products and guides would produce educational real life events that suck hehe.

This post does not include any affiliate or tracking link.

Other Highly Recommended Sherpa Publications

Although I personally think that all of the Sherpa’s publications are great and of high value for anybody who is involved in any of the aspects of marketing covered by them, there are a few books that stick out and are of exceptional value and worth mentioning specifically.

  • If landing pages are your bread and butter, the MarketingSherpa Landing Page Handbook will be the truffles sprinkled on top of it. A must read for anybody who makes his living off converting landing pages that turn visitors into prospects and paying customers. Sherpa launched the revised and extended version of their “bible” for landing pages earlier this year.
  • If brand marketing, media buys and creating sponsorships is what you are doing professionally, the 2008 Online Advertising Handbook and Benchmark Guide will be of great value for you and help you with getting the most out of the money spent to build and increase the value and recognition of your brand.
  • Freebie! The Annual Marketing Wisdom Report with stories and lessons learned from Sherpa readers and customers. All issues since 2003 are available for free on the Sherpa website.

For more great content and publications, such as the Search Marketing, Email Marketing or e-Commerce Benchmark Guides, visit the Sherpa store.

Cheers!

Carsten Cumbrowski
Entrepreneur, Blogger and Internet Marketer

For more resources and information to various subjects of internet marketing, visit Cumbrowski.com. The information are free, no membership or sign-up is required.

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About Carsten Cumbrowski

Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Blogger. To learn more about me and what I am doing, visit my website and check out the “about” section.

Twitter: ccumbrowski
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Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Blogger. To learn more about me and what I am doing, visit my website and check out the "about" section.

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