The B2B Marketing Roundup: September 2016
Pumpkin lattes are just starting to make their fall arrivals, but despite their delicious addictiveness, the seasonal pumpkin spice craze has not yet become a distraction for those focused on the latest and best B2B marketing strategies.
At True Influence®, to make sure you’re on top of the most cutting-edge ideas and information, we’ve put down our lattes and put together some of the best reads of the past month, not only from our blog posts, but also from across the internet and bookshelves, giving you the most timely and interesting information from a wealth of sources, pulling the best from the din.
While email marketing remains a key marketing tool, it’s still a tough sell for B2B marketers. That being said, the click-through rate for B2B’s is significantly higher than B2C’s, suggesting that a targeted email campaign is still a great way for B2B’s to generate new business, provided the campaign is one that attracts attention (see our next favorite for the month) and entices your target audience to follow a desired call to action.
With business people getting 91 emails a day in their inboxes, how do companies find a way to stand out? Since email remains a key marketing tool, we addressed that issue with 10 proven tips to prevent your emails from getting lost in the crowd.
We read Hubspot’s State of Inbound so you don’t have to. “Prospecting is becoming increasingly difficult for salespeople with each passing year, due to seismic shifts in information availability and buyer behavior,” Hubspot researchers said. “With this in mind, a Band-Aid won’t cut it – it’s time for a total makeover of prospecting strategies. Align your prospecting efforts with how buyers want to purchase by tuning into signals that indicate interest, and working with Marketing to increase the flow of inbound leads with a few simple tweaks.”
There has also been a plethora of blog posts that address fresh ways for B2B marketers to attract potential leads. Since we know you don’t spend all your time online, we’ve culled some of the best reads to help you better attract leads and turn them into longtime, loyal customers.
B2B Marketers, It’s Time to Add Snapchat to Your Repertoire
This Sept. 8 article appearing in Entrepreneur magazine celebrates the power of Snapchat as a marketing tool, especially because it can reach a younger, more tech-savvy audience. It reveals that 22 percent of ad execs will be looking to Snapchat sometime this year, hoping to snag the attention of the 60 percent of smartphone users who have downloaded the app. The location-based feature allows you to target potential clients either in your area or in the region when you’re attending a conference, and build excitement with special offers and video advertising that brings a sense of fun to your marketing campaign, no matter your business.
Run B2B Sales on Data, Not Hunches
Data is one of the most important account-based marketing tools for both B2B marketers and salespeople, according to Harvard Business Review article that shows how data provides useful, functional feedback so you can target the right people – those who make the buying decisions about your product or service – and learn from those who do buy your product or service how to make it better.
How Can B2B Marketers Generate Anything But MQLs
Peter Buscemi – not related to “Fargo” actor Steve Buscemi, according to Steve’s Wikipedia page – wrote this important story about bringing sales and marketing teams together to effectively narrow a broad field of potential clients to a more targeted selection of Marketing Qualified Leads (MLQs), saving enormous amounts of money along with wasted effort. Buscemi’s advice is to skip the traditional “Global 2000”and define your market more clearly for better results.
How to Use Surveys for B2B Lead Generation
Lead generation is a challenge, but not one you have to enter into blindly, according to this post from Marketo, suggesting that surveys can be used during every stage of the sales funnel to complement automated marketed tools and give you an even better picture of your potential customer and their preferred buying style. Knowing more about your prospect helps you not only seal the deal, but also develop a stronger relationship based on the knowledge they share.
4 Simple Ways to Personalize Your B2B Email Marketing Campaign
With so many emails arriving in everybody’s inboxes these days, it’s important to give yours a personal touch to get noticed, according to this piece from Business 2 Community, which offers solutions that are also applicable in the B2B world. Address your potential leads by name, use your name and make sure that the information you’re sending is specifically targeted to that client.
Revenue Marketers Rock Big Data: B2B Learning from B2C
Evan Whitenight, Vice President of Revenue Marketing Cloud for The Pedowitz Group, wrote this guest post for Mad Marketer to show how big data has transformed marketing, because it puts crucial information into the hands of marketing teams. Handled properly, data can create a really vibrant picture of a potential lead, so marketers know their needs and can find ways to meet them. “Today messages can leverage past purchases, predictive buying models and other options to deliver truly personalized content at the right time to the right potential buyer,” Whitenight writes.
5 Ways Boring B2B Brands Can Kill It With Content
For B2B brands that are lacking in the excitement category, killer content can make all the difference, according to this post appearing on the Convince and Convert website.
Create a colorful presence on social media – celebrating top employees helped boost 3M in the same way the B2C company Post did on television with its Honey Bunches of Oats brand – helps give potential leads a personal look at your company that creates a familiarity that is absolutely priceless when you’re up against other competitors.
Focusing on those who use your product or service can also be a smart way to market, because it shows that your company not only cares about its clients, but also about how well your product or service works in real life.
“The most valuable testimony that a brand can get comes from the people who actively use the product,” wrote Lux Narayan, the CEO and Co-Founder of the social media intelligence company Unmetric.
3 Content Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make
“I don’t know about you, but I hate reading something I wrote and finding a big, fat typo. I immediately cringe, autocorrect it in my head, and then frantically try to find a way to fix it,” wrote Ellen Gomes in this blog post for Marketo’s website.
We’re with her.
There’s nothing more unprofessional than perfectly good content, marred by a mistake. It will brand your company as inept, and potential clients will immediately find someone else with which to do business. But still, there are worse mistakes to be made when it comes to content marketing.
By not having a clear content marketing outline or having one editor control the content’s voice, not having an awareness of what content already exists on your site and not recognizing that more is not always better, you waste time and drive off customers, Gomes says.
3 Tips for Reaching B2B Customers with Content Marketing
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 88 percent of B2B companies use content marketing, but only 30 percent of believe it’s doing any good. This tip-filled article reveals ways to switch up the numbers, including encouraging industry experts to write for your site, writing pieces that help and inform consumers at all stages of the sales funnel, saving the biggest sales pitch until the end, and telling customer stories so they’ll have an understand of how your product/service can benefit.
And on the book front, let’s not forget these great, new reads that are now on our bookshelves:
“B2B SaaS Metrics for B2B Marketers.” Don’t fear the jargon! This downloadable Excel Spreadsheet helps marketers and managers come together by showing both sides how to integrate key metrics for successful business growth. This invaluable program allows team members access to the kind of data that should guide decision making, presented in an informal, understandable way.
“Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.” In this Wall Street Journal bestseller, Robert Cialdini, the social psychologist and author of “Influence,” reveals the trick to getting people to do what you want. Hint: It happens before you ask.
“Simplify: How the Best Businesses in the World Succeed.” Entrepreneur Richard Koch and venture capitalist Greg Lockwood teamed up for this book that looks at the reasons why businesses like Ikea, Uber, Airbnb and Apple reached the pinnacle of success, and the answer is fairly straightforward. They simplify. The two business experts take a closer look at how these big-ticket companies make simple work.
“Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice.” Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen and co-authors Karen Dillon, Taddy Hall and David S. Duncan take another disruptive look at how customers do business, approaching it with the realization that customers don’t buy products, they hire them to do a job. If the product fails to meet customer expectations, products get fired. Understanding why customers initially “hire” is the key to business success, the authors say.
“The Linkedin Manual for Rookies: Answering the Age-Old Question: Okay, I’m on Linkedin … Now What Do I Do?” In this book, Debbie McCormack breaks down the social media site, showing users how to create a profile and network in a way that helps improve your business success, even if you’re a social media novice.
“High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results” by Mark Hunter, the sales expert shows sales departments why cold calling might be dead, but prospecting isn’t. There are new, informed ways to approach clients that are compelling enough to command attention, and Hunter gives you the inside scoop.
James Muir’s “The Perfect Close: The Secret To Closing Sales – The Best Selling Practices & Techniques For Closing The Deal.” This book teaches how to clinch the deal without being pushy.