- Modern B2B marketing rests on three critical pillars — if you want it to be effective
- The most successful companies develop a strong strategic marketing plan to nurture their leads and succeed
- To truly excel, you must marry different departments and develop a self-reinforcing marketing flywheel
B2B Marketing Challenges
B2B marketing is a tough beast to tame. The lengthy sales cycle means there are so many points where you can lose a lead. When that happens, it feels like all that effort was wasted — and telling yourself at least you learned something is a consolation prize. You try again, with a different approach, but that doesn’t work. Nor the next one.
The key to successful B2B marketing is combining the latest in technology with a smart direction that utilizes the entire capabilities of your teams. You’ll see how important it is to align your sales and marketing team, and the power of targeting and winning specific accounts through account-based marketing — but first, you must develop a strategic marketing plan to map out the foundations upon which you’ll build.
Producing a Strategic Marketing Plan
If you’re finding that you’re not able to run a reliable marketing and sales funnel, chances are you don’t have the right strategic plan — or maybe you don’t even have one at all.
It’s not enough to just buy some ads, visit a few trade shows, cold call, and all those other old techniques. They each might help a little, but these methods are not how people tend to buy anymore. With the internet in their pocket, your potential customers are searching online for solutions. They’re finding your competitors’ websites, learning from them, doing all their research, and then often making their decision before they even speak to a salesperson — or see your billboard.
What you need to do is become a part of your customer’s research. Draw them toward you when they’re already looking to buy rather than seeking them out when they’re not. Produce informative content for your website that answers real questions people are asking. Build off it: begin to offer in-depth advice for free. Promoted wisely and consistently, your content will rise through the search rankings. Turn this strategy into an actionable plan that you stick to. It’ll take some time to get going, but you’ll end up with a reliable lead generation engine that’ll keep ticking as you go even further.
The Untapped Power of a Sales and Marketing Alignment
Companies don’t even realize how much difference simply rearranging an inter-departmental relationship can make. Sales and marketing working in their own silos might be independently successful — but they’re never going to be as successful as they can be if they work closer.
Sales and Marketing should align to maximize results. Marketing should do more than simply hand off a list of leads, and sales should pass information back. The two departments can pair their approach to create a more seamless experience. From the customer’s point of view, they don’t want to feel like one part of the process is completely divorced from another.
A salesperson who knows what content the customer's already consumed can get a better idea of what they’re looking for before they ever have a conversation. And when it’s time for customer service to step in, that information should make it over there as well. As the customer signs a deal and begins using the product or service, any point of contact in any department can be shared and analyzed to provide an optimal customer experience.
By understanding what happened in Sales and the Customer Service end, Marketing can explore options to further engage the customer and let them know about other things they may be interested in — and the cycle continues. Creating that phenomenal customer experience is key: it's a differentiating competitive factor growing in importance as technology enables it.
All this is switching the funnel model into a flywheel. Once you’re running, you’re able to incrementally add momentum at multiple points, spinning up rather than letting customers fall out, retaining, up-selling, delighting, and turning them into evangelists even as you learn from them.
Account-Based Marketing: Taking it to the Next Level
There’s one more thing that B2B need to add to their marketing arsenal: Account-Based Marketing. Now, on top of attracting leads to your site, you’re identifying who, specifically, you want to work with and endeavouring to directly win that business.
This means understanding the type of company with which you’d like to engage, creating a list of specific companies you think may be a good match, and narrowing it down through research. You have to learn everything you can about these companies — what they do, who they do business with, what they struggle with, who they employ: everything.
Then you tailor content and approaches specific to these companies. You come prepared with materials you know will ease their pain, and you work to win these accounts. Essentially, you’ve turned the process on its head in order to spend the most time and effort on the accounts you think are most likely to be interested in your service.
Bring it all Together
Completely redoing your B2B marketing approach is not something you can just draw up in a day. Doing it right is going to take time and deep expertise.
At Flawless Inbound, we’ve helped more than 60 companies across Canada and the US achieve and exceed their revenue growth goals through exactly these methods. If you’d like to learn more, reach out and let's chat! You can also get more information for Marketing Managers here.
Or, you may be interested in our new book: Journey to the Summit. Chief Revenue Officer Saher Ghattas’ distilled decades of marketing expertise and a deep knowledge of technology into one easy-to-read book. Click here to learn more about how it can help you drive growth.