You've probably heard of Smarketing, which means that sales and marketing work together to achieve the company's goals. Many B2B companies start by setting up a well-oiled and functioning sales organisation to increase their sales. Something that usually works well.
However, after some time, the opportunity to increase your company's sales usually attracts even more and then b2b marketing is usually a natural step. In this blog post, I will tell you how to succeed with b2b marketing and how to combine sales and marketing in a smooth way.
How do I succeed in b2b marketing?
There are many different strategies to succeed in b2b marketing. Unfortunately, I often come across companies that have tried to start marketing but have been promised gold and green forests or have simply been cheated. This is incredibly sad but it also gives me the energy to give even more knowledge, tips and tricks to anyone who is interested so that they have the opportunity to succeed.
Before I start telling you more about how you can work with marketing, I want to stress that this is not a quick fix. Marketing should NOT be something you do for 3 months and then hope will give a fantastic result. But marketing and so-called Smarketing (where sales and marketing work together) should be something that is focused on long-term and something that should be taken seriously. The companies that we have had the honour of working with over the years and that have trusted us and themselves when things have been tough, are the ones that have also generated the absolute best results in the long term.
From idea to result
All too often, we are sitting on a lot of good ideas that might be useful for increasing company sales. The problem is that the ideas never get realised, no one takes action and they remain ideas. Or we sit in long and time-consuming workshops to decide the company's strategy....which we don't even know if it will work.
Don't misunderstand me now. Of course it's good to have a strategy and a plan on how to achieve our goals, but we can't get too long-winded and we need to start testing early on what works and what doesn't.
When I worked for a business coach in Australia, he told me that the startups that ventured out early and started selling and marketing their products and services were the ones that often succeeded best. Unfortunately, those who sat in their chambers trying to plan everything down to the last detail and wanting to make everything perfect before they dared to show themselves usually failed.
We always try to explain to our new clients and potential clients that this is the way forward if they want to succeed in their b2b marketing and sales. But of course they always wonder how this can be done and how they can practically get started.
When we talk to our clients, we always focus on results-based marketing, which means that everything we do should be measured and analysed so that we can continuously improve the results. For this to be possible, we first need to tap into some of the different analytics tools that are out there. Here we recommend Google's various tools which are perfect to start collecting data. Here you will find a link to our Google guide where we explain the different tools, their features and how you can best work with them.
It's when we start collecting data that we can see what's working and what's not, and work effectively from there.
Start B2B marketing without any data
Many times we start working with clients who have not worked in marketing before and who have no data to work with. In this case, we first need to connect to some analytical tools. Then we start from different hypotheses about what should work for that particular client. Here we look at other companies in the same industry and historical data from other companies. We at Contitude have worked for many years with different companies and with all this knowledge we can give relevant tips and advice for B2B marketing to work in the best way.
How will we get our message across?
All too often, many companies think that they will develop a really powerful offer or campaign that they will then push out to their target audience. In other words, classic advertising. Of course, this can work, but it usually costs a lot.
Our suggestion is to gather someone or some people from sales and marketing and customer service to sit down and talk about the challenges, needs and pains of customers. What are their day-to-day challenges related to what you offer? Why are they using your products or services today? What are the most common questions customer service receives from customers? When customers are looking for similar services or products - what are they looking for?
Using the answers you land on when we sit down and talk about this, you can start creating so-called situational content. That is, content based on customers' pains, challenges and needs that educates customers so they can make the right decisions. This content can be created in text, video or image format. A combination of all three is of course best when you want to meet your potential customers in the best possible way. Some like to read, some like to watch and some like to listen, so once this content is created it should be distributed to your potential customers.
How do we spread our content to our potential customers organically?
Your situational content can be distributed in a variety of ways and has multiple uses. For example, when you publish a blog post on your own website, this content is indexed on Google. Which means you have an opportunity to be searchable when a potential customer is googling for the solution to their challenge. Hopefully they will find their way to you where you can then help them in the best way possible. This is called organic traffic.
The more content you publish on your website, the more likely you are to get more organic traffic from Google, for example.You can also publish your content on social media to increase its distribution even more. Most often, LinkedIn is a suitable channel for b2b companies. In other words, it's a good idea to publish your articles, videos, images and more on your company's LinkedIn page. Worth knowing is that people like to follow people not companies. Therefore, it is of extra importance that some people in the company also share the content on their private channels.You have probably heard of Social Selling. If you're interested in learning more about this, I've recorded a 30-minute course packed with tips and tricks that you can download here!
If you choose to record educational videos yourself, my recommendation is to post them on Youtube as well. Youtube is the second largest search engine after Google and therefore also an important channel to be visible on.
Now I've told you a lot about organic distribution, which is a good long-term strategy. But as I said before, it is long-term and takes time. It can take anywhere from 3 months to 1 year to see results. Many companies may not be able to wait that long. Therefore, below I will tell you how to spread your content through advertising.
How do we distribute our content to potential customers through advertising?
There are many different ways to work to spread your content through advertising. Something that can work very well to complement the organic results on Google is SEM (Search Engine Marketing) also known as Google Ads. This means that you buy visibility on different keywords and search terms by paying per click. The price per click can vary depending on the competition.
There are many companies that have succeeded in making Google Ads profitable, but it requires a lot of work.The ads need to be optimized continuously to get the best quality score possible. The ads must lead the customer to a destination where they complete a conversion. Either to a purchase or they download some material from your website in exchange for an email address. From the ad on Google, the visitor must also end up on a page related to the ad. For example, it won't be good if you pay to appear on checkout systems and when the visitor clicks through, they end up on a page about receipt rolls. If you want to learn more about SEM, I recommend reading this blog post: What is SEM?
We've been sniffing around a bit on organic spread on social media. Or at least on LinkedIn. When it comes to a good organic presence on LinkedIn, this also takes time. You need to continuously share interesting content to make people want to start following you. This doesn't happen overnight, so advertising on LinkedIn can be a good idea to reach your target audience faster. There are lots of different advertising options. From being visible in the feed to paying to send sponsored messages to various decision makers. It's hard to say exactly what works best for you here. Trying it out with a slightly smaller budget is preferable. Then analyse the data and proceed with the advertising format that works best.
Before you start advertising on e.g. LinkedIn, I would suggest you look into Account Based Marketing. This is an approach where you target a selected niche audience. You select about 100-200 companies that you want to work with and the various decision makers that are usually involved in a deal. You then target different types of messages and content to the different decision makers in these selected companies. While doing this, you coordinate a targeted sales effort to these customers carried out by your sales people. This combination, if executed correctly and in the right order, is the key to opening the doors to your dream customers.
How do we convert visitors into warm leads through b2b marketing?
So far, I've only talked about how you reach your potential customers and how they find you. This is of course part of it, but the most important thing is that they convert so that it becomes a warm lead. I talked a bit at the beginning about how important it is for sales and marketing to work together to achieve the company's goals. It is at this stage that the work of the marketing department starts to result in something tangible for sales people to bite into and this is what many sales people are yearning for.
That it comes in warm inbound leads that they can start to process.So the question now is how to convert your visitors into concrete leads. Step 1 is to make sure that there are CTAs, i.e. different buttons and forms where the visitor can easily take the next step if they are open to it. These CTAs can be a book an appointment button like the one below. It can also be something that the visitor can download such as a guide, e-book or take part in a webinar. This gives the visitor the opportunity to exchange their email address for something of value to them.
Please adapt theCTA to the content the visitor has viewed. In this blog post where I talk about b2b marketing and various activities related to it, a CTA where you as a reader can download our great SEO guide would probably fit pretty perfectly or a link to our simple marketing plan would fit pretty well.
Download the great SEO guide here!
Download our marketing plan template for free here!
Once a visitor has converted, it's usually a great opportunity for a salesperson to follow up with a call to ask if they're happy or if they have any questions or concerns. This is usually enough to start a conversation. Either it's interesting to talk about further or it's not. If it is not relevant to talk further, the warm lead can be processed automatically.
You've probably heard of marketing automation, which can help you capture warm leads and then automatically process them with relevant content until they're ready to be processed again or they get back to you to talk further.
In this blog post, I've written more about marketing automation and the value you can get from it. Feel free to jump in and read if you want to learn more about marketing automation.
Marketing automation may be suitable for those companies that have started to drive a lot of traffic to their website and have started to convert. With the help of Marketing automation, companies can start automating processes and thus gain better control over all the hot leads and keep them hot. It's also a great system for processing existing customers.
Many marketing automation systems have a built-in CRM or can be linked to an existing CRM system. In this way, sales people suddenly get lots of data into their CRM system that tells them what the potential or existing customer has done on your website etc. This makes it easier to start a dialogue with the potential customer.
What elements are important to measure in our b2b marketing?
Here my recommendation is that sales and marketing sit down to go through which KPIs are important to measure. This could be anything from how many times the company has appeared on Google (so-called exposures). How many clicks into the website you received from each channel. How many people have filled in a form and become a warm lead. How many of those warm leads have become customers.
Once you've worked this out and started measuring, you'll be able to see exactly what ROI you've got on each effort after a while. Of course, this is easier if you have a marketing automation system linked to a CRM, because then you can see where a warm lead that turned into a deal came from. That's really cool.
If you feel this is something you would like help getting started with, we would be happy to help. Our goal is to help our clients create a results-driven b2b marketing strategy.
Please book a free consultation with us here!
B2b marketing - summary
Now I've gone through a lot of different things that can be done to take your b2b marketing to a whole new level. There are also lots of other activities that you can do that I haven't had time to cover in this blog post but that you can find on our blog or in our knowledge base.
B2b marketing is very broad and there are lots of different strategies and elements to work with. If you are unsure, don't hesitate to get in touch. We are happy to discuss your thoughts and concerns.
Don't forget to think long-term, be focused and disciplined. Good luck!