B2B Marketing Exchange (B2BMX) is one of those digital marketing events that sends you home with more questions than answers — and that’s a good thing! The 2022 event that took place in Phoenix, Arizona gave findings about content, demand generation, sales enablement, and how technology can eliminate friction across the entire customer journey. Team Leads for B2B Accounts, TJ Bruno and Laura Greenawalt attended & join us this week on Test. Learn. Grow to share some of their biggest takeaways from the industry event.
Rather listen than read? In this podcast episode, we talked about how keeping it tight to just six ‘must-haves’ was a challenge, but these insights can help you to think differently about how your organization is approaching B2B marketing strategy.
B2B IS HUMAN TO HUMAN
Customer-led marketing isn’t just for direct-to-consumer (D2C). Our clients’ target companies are typically innovating at a rapid pace in highly competitive industries, constantly addressing process and organizational challenges. They’re also ROI-focused. They may have ideal customers — companies — but those are populated by humans who want a more simplified, painless everyday work experience. Those humans probably also want to make themselves and their teams look good while they do it.
B2B marketing might approach its tactics a little differently from our friends over in eCommerce. But let us be real: at their core, B2B buyers are not fundamentally different from the people who are buying the latest anti-aging face cream, an air fryer, or a Lexus. They need a solution to a problem. They need reasons to believe in that solution, and they need to be able to easily make a decision about the right solution for them. How can your user journey take them through a path that delivers the “promised land” — what your company can offer them that no one else can? Think about each consideration — price, competition, benefits,
BRAND & DEMAND
These go hand-in-hand. Your organization, like many, relies on success at the bottom of the funnel. Increasingly, we are seeing even small B2B companies move up the funnel, beyond product-only messaging. To stay competitive, think of your brand effort as the first leg in a relay race that hands primed audiences off to the next stage of engagement.
Optimize your messaging, not just your platform. Plan to update your messaging frequently — your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will tell you if it’s resonating with your audiences. Then, make sure you have a clear handoff plan. Landing pages and media need to capture these audiences and show them a seamless path to getting what they need.
For KPIs, if attribution isn’t in place, focus on the conversion rates, engagement rates, and handoff rates at each step in the funnel and fine-tune where you can.
ALIGN MARKETING & SALES
In 2022, your Marketing and Sales teams should be in lockstep. At the minimum, they should have clear alignment around campaign goals, what works, and what doesn’t. For more complex efforts like Account-Based Experiences (ABX), discuss the quality of sales conversations, how content and communications are working to reduce lead time, and what behaviors predict new account opportunities.
One tip that we know works: Meet with purpose. Make your weekly sales-marketing alignments short and sweet, with a clear agenda, and agreed-upon rules of engagement, and stick to it. Traction comes when you consistently work together on making sure the meeting provides value and builds understanding of the real work you are all doing together. Just like with your customers: it’s about trust!
Just to put some data behind it, when the organization ranked sales and marketing teams as “closely aligned” in a recent survey, revenue attributed to marketing was 200% higher than their unaligned counterparts.
STREAMLINE THE BUYING EXPERIENCE
No one likes filling out forms. No matter how short or easy, it is always better to get people straight to the action they want to take. A quick win for your organization today might be a simplified schedule experience: replace your “Talk to Sales” CTA (Call to Action) and lead form with an automatic scheduler link and add it to your pre-programmed chat playbooks.
A (big, scary) goal that data-led, customer-first companies should pursue is to figure out the right combination of behaviors and intent data to wean your organization away from reliance on the lead form altogether. By knowing your accounts well and building a data ecosystem that segments, tags, and dynamically shares information with both the audience and your sales team, you can work toward a conversational experience that predicts where the buyer is in the buyer’s journey. Today, you might be using intent to pick up the phone and call leads who are spending time on your site. But how can you use chat to do it in real-time while they are on the page?
For example, if they are browsing an ungated content piece about how to get budget alignment for your SaaS (Software as a Service) product – they are getting closer to a call. Reach them in real-time using chat and make sure their questions are answered right away.
STORYTELLING FOR BETTER LEADS
If your sales & marketing teams do not currently have a shared, central database of communications materials, make that a priority. It is a quick win, from there, layer that user journey with the content that you have already created. Where are the gaps? When does it make sense for sales to have a conversation versus marketing? By seeing the ideal customer journey and the gaps in marketing and sales touchpoints you can identify where to focus creating updated content experiences.
Once you have the content, which takes a ton of time to develop and launch, do not stop with just a white paper. Break it out into multiple assets – make an infographic, a short kinetic text explainer video, or a few cards for an Instagram story.
PRIORITIZE YOUR DATA
One of the biggest barriers to success in organizations who are moving toward digital transformation is how they maintain and use their data. We are on the edge of a cookie-less future. Audiences can choose what data is shared and how, and technology is enabling it: iOS and Chrome updates increasingly mask platform data from marketers. This is a big win for consumer privacy, but we are going to feel the crunch — and fast. Invest in your first party data. Organizations self-identified that they suspected at least 25% of their database was inaccurate, and we think that is on the low side.
Start by cleaning your data. Remove dupes, merge accounts, and cut out the dead email and phone data that you can easily ID. While you do that – build a process to consistently perform this maintenance. It is a live database and needs regular attention, just like an oil change. You should also review your processes and ensure that you collect better data going forward so that maintenance is easier along the way. Finally, once you feel confident that your data is clean and there is a clear process to maintain, then you can layer in your third-party data from platforms like Bombora or Demandbase. With that clarity, you can really see where your opportunities are, and spend less time in the weeds.
We have covered a lot of ground! As we have seen, a lot has changed in just a few short years. If you have questions about how your content and data ecosystems can work better together, call the B2B teams at Level Agency.
Did we miss something? Feel free to share the successes of your organization’s culture or other thoughts on the topic!