Know your business: four drivers of digital success in B2B marketing

Business-facing companies can learn a lot from B2C, but it’s vital to understand what makes it different too, so you can invest your time and money wisely.

Know your business: four drivers of digital success in B2B marketing

Don’t get stopped by the complexity of your particular B2B marketing issues; understanding and reacting to them will pay dividends in the long run, says Bernat Riera, Head of B2B at Wavemaker

Whereas consumer-facing companies (B2C) tend to be brimming with innovative performance-measurement tools for tracking cost-effective rapid sales, trade or business to business (B2B) companies are often found lagging behind in this area. 

B2B marketing performance needs to take a more sophisticated approach to sales and measurement, but improvements are often stalled due numerous complex considerations. Unpicking and assessing those issues, however, will bring significant improvements, allowing you to streamline your content strategy, lead generation, sales cycle, and end-to-end measurement.

1) Invest in a content strategy 

An e-commerce or a B2C website looks to make the consumer journey fast and simple. Conversely B2B websites should relay as much information or content as possible to generate sales, inform presale decision-making and supply post-sale support. It’s a slower, much more informed approach. 

Content strategy needs to be informed by talking to customers and understanding their challenges. It should then include downloadable technical PDFs, informative videos, and other support tools to reduce the number of questions a customer may have for the sales team. The goal is to ensure the sale is essentially complete when customers contact the sales team.

The content should include a variety of information, both topline and detailed – so the customer can navigate through the portfolio clearly and directly. Technical details of the product with case studies can offer added value. The website should be easy to navigate and offer product comparison. It’s also worth incorporating personalisation and AB testing tools to offer a tailored consumer journey. 

In addition to the content and navigation strategy, it’s important to lead the customer towards conversion: step by step; layer by layer. Ultimately, they need to arrive at an easy-to-complete order form.

Takeaway

Investing in comprehensive and detailed content drives sales by ensuring customers have all of the required information at their fingertips, culminating in a clear conversion point. Something like 90% of the key information should be pushed to the customer before they interact with the sales team – to streamline the sales process. 

2) Exchange value for data

Lead generation is crucial for most B2B sales teams. The aim is to cost-effectively gather a significant number of relevant leads across the target audience.

Evaluating the lead-generation ecosystem is vital to understanding this process. It is also crucial to review the use of lead generation ad formats in social networks and search engines, the use of landing pages created specifically for conversion, and the end-to-end customer journey. 

The final stage of conversion or order form should have a clear call to action and benefit to the customer. Often customers are happy to share personal / professional data in exchange for value, which could be anything from receiving a regular newsletter or discounteds, to booking a product demonstration or receiving a free product trial. 

Takeaway

Generate new sales leads through clear call to actions and next steps which offer immediate value (for example a short-term free product trial) in exchange for their personal or professional data.

3) Adopt a consistent sales approach 

B2B marketing instantly loses value if the new lead or customer ends up falling between the cracks in the wider company sales process. Too often B2B sales are lost due to landing on the wrong desk – a terrible waste of media investment. 

It’s important for B2C and B2B sales teams to have a consistent and joined up approach, as well as a good understanding about what each is delivering for the business and how they can support each other to achieve those goals. 

It's imperative to question and understand the end-to-end sales process. How long does it take for the sales team to evaluate a lead and take action? What reasons could there be for a particular department to discard a lead? By taking some time to ensure the internal sales process is consistent, coherent and efficient, waste can be avoided. 

Takeaway

Scrutinise sales processes and team approaches to avoid losing sales opportunities for the company.

4) Pay attention to measurement, attribution & timeframe 

Ultimately the measurement of success in B2B is revenue, with marketing measurement often illustrating at least part of the bigger picture; but it can be expensive, complicated and long-term when compared to B2C.

Due to the nature of the industries, businesses and products bought and sold, B2B campaigns often have longer-term lead times for results. It can take months or even years after the ad campaign has run for the results to be seen. Waiting for the return on investment (ROI) makes it challenging to quickly reinvest without proof of a positive result. Typically, businesses don’t apply long-term end-to-end measurement so they never get to see the complete picture. 

A customer database management system must be robust and effective. There are many customer relationship management [CRM] tools available, such as Adobe’s Marketo or Salesforce, that allow capturing, processing and measuring the longer sales cycles. However, it is essential to link them to each marketing step: across each media channel, audience, format and creative.

Measuring and attributing ROI may be more complex and require investment in resources upfront, but it’s essential to effectively evaluating and scaling any significant marketing investment in the long term.

Takeaway

Long-term end-to-end measurement is important to demonstrate ROI and support future marketing investment in the longer-lead B2B environment.


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