Complete Guide to B2B Marketing | Breakdown & Definition
According to HubSpot’s 2018 State of Inbound Report, 61% of businesses said that generating traffic and leads was their top marketing challenge.
In addition, the B2B marketing process itself is now drawing on more than just attending trade shows and sponsoring ads. There’s much more data available to B2B marketers, but leveraging this data is also becoming a top challenge for B2B marketing teams.
If you are looking to re-tune your B2B marketing efforts in light of these challenges, then you’ve come to the right place. Our guide will provide you insights about how the B2B marketing world is changing, and more importantly, what you should do to leverage those shifts to get ahead of your competition.
What is B2B Marketing
The term ‘B2B marketing’ is used so often and in a countless number of contexts, but what is it exactly? Sure, it’s obvious enough — businesses marketing to other businesses — but there’s a lot more at play when it comes to effectively driving your B2B marketing efforts.
B2B Marketing Definition
We define B2B marketing — business-to-business marketing — as the activities businesses do to promote their products and services to other businesses.
It’s a simple definition, but it alone doesn’t explain the complete breadth of what’s involved in B2B marketing. Below, our guide fills in those gaps.
B2B versus B2C Marketing
Let’s start by understanding what B2B marketing is not.
So often, it’s very easy to get enamored by flashy marketing tactics used on consumers and just assume that they will work in B2B, but this isn’t often the case.
To understand why we must understand the difference between B2B and B2C.
The B2B Purchasing Cycle is Longer
Instead of buying on a whim, B2B customers will only purchase based on their company needs.
These needs don’t come along frequently, but typically in intervals of several years or, in some cases, such as factory equipment, several decades. In addition, the B2B purchasing cycle is only getting longer.
Source: Demand Gen Report
In B2B marketing, the transaction is just when the relationship begins.
Generally, B2B purchases encompass a range of services, such as maintenance, technical support, or service-level agreements (SLA). These factors require B2B buyers and sellers to remain engaged through the lifecycle of the product or service.
High Cost, High Risk
B2B procurement is also costleir and riskier than B2C purchases. That’s why these transactions involve multi-step proposal and bidding processes, finance or credit, a long contract negotiations process, scope of work documents, and in some cases, regulatory permits.
Multiple Decision Makers
Most B2B purchases require the support — if not direct approval — of multiple decision makers, each specializing in a different area and carrying different goals, interests, and concerns.
B2B buyers will not react instantly but respond logically and gradually.
Businesses want purchases to achieve positive outcomes, such as cutting costs, increasing revenue, accelerating time to market, and mitigating costly risks, such as government fines.
In addition to these logical goals, decision makers also carry specific emotional cues, such as a fear or uncertainty of a business problem, such as a hacker breaking into client data.
They might also have personal ambition, such as the manager with a desire to get a promotion, or a company president wanting to beat a competitor in their industry.
The common thread in B2B marketing is that you must convince the decision maker that you will help them get from point-A to point-B.
In B2B marketing, this convincing occurs in the consideration stage of the B2B marketing funnel. The buyer will research their problem and solutions, align internal stakeholders, and examine all of their options on the market before reaching the decision to buy.
B2B is the Norm in Certain Industries
You will find that the factors we discussed above are routine in multiple industries, e.g., logistics, managed IT services, professional services and consulting, manufacturing, chemicals, and B2B focused niches in software as a service (SaaS), cloud, medical devices, etc.
Trade Credit & Deferred Payments
B2B buyers can ask for, if not expect, deferred payment terms. For example, the B2B seller may issue a line of credit for 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days to get a B2B purchase rolling, enabling the B2B buyer to pay after one of those periods instead of right away or upfront.
The reason for credit or deferred payments is simple. B2B contracts are generally much larger than B2C, with some reaching as high as one billion dollars.
What Does B2B Mean in Marketing?
As noted above, there are a number of major factors that make B2B very different from B2C, such as the exponentially higher costs and more complicated buying processes.
In fact, the likelihood of a B2B purchase drops by a sharp 26% when a second decision-maker is brought into the mix, and it drops to 31% when there are over 6 people involved (CEB).
But with the average buying group being 5.4, your likelihood of a B2B sale is in the range of 31% to 53%. See the chart below by CEB and Motista’s B2B Brand Survey for more details.
Source: CEB/Motista B2B Brand Survey
According to a 2018 Demand Gen Report, 79% of B2B purchasing teams involve between 1 and 6 people, and 21% involve 7 or more people.
So, how do these factors affect how B2B sellers can engage B2B buyers?
First, you must place a strong emphasis on proving the benefit and value of your offerings: 61% of B2B buyers reported examining 3 to 7 pieces of content before talking to a sales rep.
Source: Demand Gen Report
Second, how you present your content matters, a lot. In B2B marketing, jargon is the norm. It involves standard terminology like ‘ROI’ as well as industry specific ones, such as ‘uptime’ (IT), ‘debugging’ (SaaS), ‘machining’ (manufacturing), and countless others.
Moreover, acronyms are not just condoned, but encouraged. If you want others to see you as a trusted authority in the aviation industry, for example, then ITAR, CAA, MTOW, AoA, etc should show up in your content. If not, you will be seen as an outsider.
Third, trust is a critical factor. Remember, decision-makers aren’t buying for themselves, but for their companies. They are making an investment, and while proving ROI is a must, these people want to feel assured that their plans are in the right hands.
Source: Demand Gen Report
The 7Ps of Marketing B2B Solutions
The B2B marketing mix differs from its B2C counterpart in multiple ways. On the surface, B2B may share the ‘4Ps’ with B2C, but these elements materialize differently in B2B. Furthermore, B2B has 3 additional ‘Ps’.
The (Not So) Common ‘4Ps’:
- Product (or Service)
In B2B, the function — and benefit — of your product or service is a critical. As we noted earlier, B2B decision makers aren’t swayed by style or aesthetics (unless that is a core requirement), but by whether the product/service brings them from point-A to point-B.
This isn’t too different from B2C in a conceptual sense. You must market to the right people at the right time and place. In B2B, this means (among other things) engaging your target market where they congregate, such as industry trade shows, but it also includes your website and other digital channels.
Though B2B purchases cost much more than B2C, the price does matter to your target audience. Some companies are conscious about cutting costs and increasing revenue, so in that vein, they might look for competitive pricing.
Compared to B2C, in B2B marketing the promotional process in some areas is differently targeted.For example, while a B2C giant such as Nike will want to be front and center at the NBA Finals, Boeing will focus on the Paris Air Show. Why? That’s where Boeing’s customers (i.e., governments, airlines, etc) are going to be.
But the B2B marketing mix involves 3 additional ‘Ps’:
Not every B2C scenario requires the seller’s staff to engage with the buyer, but the same can’t be said of B2B. In B2B sales are spearheaded by sales professionals who need to cultivate a strong relationship with the buyer’s decision makers right until — and in some cases after — the deal the signed and implemented.
In marketing B2B solutions, your sales people are just one element in the process, you also have a roster of other people and tools to actually reach a deal with the buyer.This also includes financial and legal work for each individual deal. Each B2B purchase is different, so you can’t standardize as much as B2C.
- Physical Evidence
Companies that succeed in marketing B2B solutions do an excellent job at proving the benefits of their offerings to buyers. Not only are B2B offerings costlier and higher-risk (thus requiring a more intensive evaluation process), but B2B buyers prioritize positive outcomes, such as reducing time to market, in their purchases.
B2B Marketing Budgets
B2B marketing budgets vary between different businesses and industries, but you can expect it to take up at least 6% of your total revenue and, in some industries, 15.7% (Deloitte/WSJ).
You can further break this up into the following:
- Digital and Traditional Advertising (20% to 30%)
- Trade Shows, Conferences and other Events (5% to 10%)
- Internal Advocacy (10%)
- Content Marketing (40% to 50%)
- B2B Marketing Tools (10%)
Types of B2B Marketing
Traditional B2B Marketing
The term ‘traditional’ may be a misnomer as it implies that these methods are obsolete. But that is not the case. Rather, ‘traditional B2B marketing’ is still in vogue, and it is evolving through the growing use of digital B2B marketing solutions.
Trade Shows, Conferences, and Events
This is arguably the staple of B2B marketing. Every industry has a congregation bringing every vendor and buyer to the same place. These congregations can include air shows, trade shows, summits, conferences, and other events.
Your B2B marketing efforts can include attending these tradeshows as a trade visitor.
This gives you the opportunity to network with potential leads and convert leads into sales by speaking to the decision-makers directly.
You can also exhibit at these events by setting up a pavilion and distribute branded swag, such as USB sticks, pens, mugs, books, and pamphlets. This serves a dual purpose: first, it lets you generate awareness about your company, and second, to distribute information.
Though ‘traditional’, these events are also becoming digital.
B2B sellers use Facebook and Google Ads to advertise their pavilions at these events as well as promote their activities, such as new product or service reveals. You can use geo-targeting and audience targeting to focus ad exposure to those who are likely to attend those events.
Sellers will leverage their existing customers, industry channel partners (such as their own suppliers), professional networks, local industry associations (e.g., Air Transport Association Canada, International Chamber of Commerce, etc), and word of mouth to get new leads.
The advantage of referrals is that the leads are not only well aware of what the seller is offering, but are predisposed to buying from them thanks to the endorsements their common contact has provided. Referral marketing is a method of managing this lead source.
Traditional Field Sales Operations
This involves sending salespeople to the field (e.g., the offices of target accounts) to generate leads. However, as analog as it may sound, it too has become digital thanks to the introduction of customer relationship management (CRM) tools, lead nurturing tools, analytics to track KPIs, and other resources to ensure these visits are fruitful.
Be it billboards at trade shows or buying ad space on industry magazines, advertising is a B2B marketing staple. However, as with the B2B marketing areas we listed above, it too has become digital due to the fact that B2B decision makers are increasingly looking at digital environments.
Overall, traditional B2B marketing tactics aren’t going anywhere. Rather, they’re changing and evolving thanks to digital. However, many B2B sellers aren’t leveraging digital B2B marketing tools as well as they could. As a result, their B2B marketing efforts are not at their potential.
Digital B2B Marketing
Digital B2B marketing efforts center on B2B online marketing tools, platforms, and expertise.
To implement digital B2B marketing correctly, companies typically require complete in-house teams to manage each of their channels. However, businesses looking to quickly grow their digital B2B marketing capabilities may rely on an outside B2B internet marketing agency.
The goal of outbound digital B2B marketing is to reach out to your target market.
In paying to distribute online ads, you can select from multiple platforms — i.e., Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, among others. You will pay based on either cost -per-one-thousand-impressions (CPM) or cost-per-click (CPC).
You can use paid advertising in multiple ways:
Let’s say a business manager visits your website. When they leave your website, you can use retargeting to display your ads to that manager when they visit other websites.
You could even retarget ads to specific people, such as someone from a high-value potential client, by using visitor IP tracking.
Paid Search Engine Results
You can also pay to get your website to rank high on the Search Engine Page Results (SERP) of questions and queries (i.e., keywords) asked by your target reader.
Granted, this is the goal of an inbound B2B marketing strategy as well, but paid results could serve as a stopgap until your organic rankings come into form.
In contrast to traditional advertising, digital paid advertising doesn’t have to be a ‘spray and pray’ approach wherein you’re betting on finding a needle in a haystack.
In addition to focusing on the platforms listed below, you can also leverage geo-targeting to limit your ads’ exposure to just the regions you want to focus on.
On Facebook, you can limit the exposure of your ads to only a custom audience. You can define this audience using your persona’s key traits, such as their age, residence, place of work, etc.
Using Email Lists in Google AdWords
In AdWords, you can upload an email list consisting of 5,000 to 10,000 addresses. AdWords will automatically connect those to a Google Account and, in turn, let you distribute your ads to that group wherever they browse on the internet.
On LinkedIn, you can even target people working for a specific company; this is a powerful tool for those engaging in Account Based Marketing (ABM).
Account Based Marketing
In ABM, you are reaching out to only your highest value prospects.
You can engage these ‘key accounts’ in a range of ways using variations of the outbound B2B marketing approaches we described above.
You can serve custom ads to people belonging in those key accounts by using the ad targeting methods we described above.
- Email Marketing
You can reach out to prospects in those key accounts directly by email. However, as you will see in the next section, personalization and providing useful content is critical.
- Inviting Key Prospects to Your Events or Pavilions
If you have your own event, or are hosting a pavilion at a trade show, you can also invite decision-makers from key accounts to attend or even present at your venues.
- Custom Content
You can also produce content that speaks to the key accounts’ specific pain points and interests. The idea is to have the accounts build trust with your brand as well as provide your sales team with assets to use for cultivating their relationships with leads.These are but a few ABM tactics. Learn about 50 ABM tactics in one of our earlier blogs.
With B2B email marketing, you can directly reach out to your high-value prospects by using pre -scripted emails. However, with B2B marketing automation tools, such as ActiveCampaign and HubSpot, you can personalize those emails (be it in the hundreds or thousands) by calling the intended reader by their name and with other details.
You can use those same tools to score your leads based on how those leads interact with your emails and other outreach efforts. It doesn’t matter how many people you are dealing with, the tools will help you highlight the receptive leads without saddling your sales people with hours of tedious manual work.
In B2B marketing, a solid inbound marketing strategy plays a critical role.
As we noted at the beginning of this guide, 78% B2B decision-makers place “a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of [the] source.” The objective of your inbound B2B marketing strategy is to build that trust, but this is a multi-part process.
B2B Web Marketing
Your website is the centerpiece of your inbound online B2B marketing strategy. When it comes to B2B marketing, websites must incorporate multiple elements to be successful.
This includes maintaining a fast page loading speed, mobile-friendly user-interface, integration of tools such as IP tracking and analytics, among others.
However, having a great website means nothing if your target audience is unable to find it. Your website and content need traffic for them to have a positive effect in your B2B marketing efforts.
Let’s examine a few traffic generation strategies.
Search Engine Optimization
Your inbound B2B internet marketing efforts must employ a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Ahrefs (a SEO SaaS tool) defines SEO as “the process of optimizing your website and webpages to get “free”, “organic” traffic from search engines like Google.”
SEO involves a combination of processes, skill/expertise, and tools to successfully implement. However, the benefit of it is that it enables your website to rank on Google (ideally on the first page) in response to your target audience’s questions and queries.
These questions/queries are keywords. To succeed, especially in saturated industries, B2B sellers must focus their SEO efforts to target niches in their verticals.
For example, you can have a managed IT service provider (MSP) that focuses on the health vertical. But that’s a competitive space, so how does this MSP stick out? It can narrow in on medium-sized hospitals in the midwest of the U.S.
In its SEO, this MSP will try ranking for keywords in its niche, such as “the IT needs of medium -sized hospitals in the midwest”. These niche terms are typically less competitive, so it makes it easier for your company to rank for them and get in front of businesses that need your services.
Where having a website and SEO strategy serves the technical function of bringing your target audience to you, your content must take lead in building trust.
This is a theme we brought up at the beginning of this article and inbound section, and this is where your readers are going to thoroughly examine you for trust.
Your B2B content marketing strategy must involve the actual content deliverables, such as your blogs, ebooks, case studies, etc, and a map to deliver at each stage of the buyer’s journey. You can see what types of content B2B marketers use for each of those stages in the charts below.
Source: Demand Gen Report
Source: Demand Gen Report
Mapping your content to your buyer’s journey is vital. Without it, your content will not serve its purpose of pushing leads from trusting you as a source of information to then buying from you.
Top-of-Funnel Stage (Early Stage)
Your top-of-funnel content will help your target reader get familiar with their problem.
The goal is to cement your trustworthiness by showing that you understand their issues and can guide them to identifying the root or source problem. Besides blogs, podcasts are also catching on as tools for conveying top-of-funnel content.
Middle-of-Funnel Stage (Mid-Stage)
Your content at this stage is to help the reader get a grasp of their solutions, including solutions unrelated to your company. This is your opportunity to convince the reader to see your solutions in positive light. However, again carrying on with trust, measurable proof is critical. This is why webinars and technical white papers are good middle-of-funnel content tools.
Bottom-of-Funnel Stage (Late Stage)
Finally, once the reader is convinced that your solution is the way forward, you must convince them to sign on with your company. In all likelihood, you’re probably not the only one offering that specific product or service in the market.
This is where case studies, quote or cost calculators, and assessments play a big part in helping the lead visualize how you can figure into their business plans. You also have the opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors and show how you will be of benefit to the buyer.
You can use social media marketing for both inbound and outbound B2B marketing.
In terms of outbound, we’ve outlined how you can use advertising (especially for ABM) through social media channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn (read here).
In terms of inbound, you can employ B2B influencer marketing strategy.
This can take multiple forms.
Prop Your Thought Leaders
Across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Quora, there are countless industry discussion groups and lists of direct relevance to your company. Whenever something big happens on the news relating to your industry, these groups are discussing it. Unfortunately, you’re probably not aware of most, if not even a few, of these incredibly valuable places.
Your executives, managers, etc have an opportunity to position themselves as trusted sources of information, insights, and opinions in these groups/lists/pages.
They can share blogs and ebooks, discuss with their peers (including decision-makers), and be a part of the conversation.
Prop Your Brand
You can also position your brand as an authority in the industry by using your top-of-funnel and middle-of-funnel content. For example, you can publish brief clips from your webinars and how -to videos on Facebook and Twitter.
You can even respond to a current issue. Let’s say you’re a health device manufacturer and a major newspaper is buzzing about an issue your company is trying to address, such as Type 2 diabetes. You can respond to that news and join the conversation alongside hundreds, maybe thousands, of others, including health practitioners and hospital managers.
Deploying Your B2B Business Marketing Plan or Strategy
By now, you should have the lay of the land in terms of your B2B marketing options, but the next step is to prioritize your resources and achieve your B2B marketing objectives.
This requires a B2B business marketing strategy or plan to define what you’re trying to achieve.
Build a B2B Marketing Plan
The centerpiece of this is your B2B marketing plan.
It should include the following:
- Market Analysis
You must determine the nature of your market, i.e., its size, growth, how it’s segmented, distribution channels for your product/service, customer needs/preferences, etc.
Be it strategic goals such as increasing sales to specific marketing outcomes, such as increasing website traffic, you must set goals.
- SWOT Analysis
Short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, the purpose of this is to understand your internal capacity (i.e., strengths and weaknesses), such as resources, and external factors (opportunities and threats) such as your competitors.
- Buyer Persona Development
You will have seen us reference buyer personas multiple times. This is an essential part of your entire B2B marketing strategy across both digital and traditional.The basic idea is to define who your ideal customer is and their core needs, interests, fears, and other factors.
- Brand and Product/Service Positioning
You must define what makes your company/brand and its products/services unique over the competition. In saturated markets, such as the SaaS space, differentiation is a vital element to successful lead generation and nurturing.
- Brand Voice Development
Your brand voice shapes how you present your message. To ensure that you are hitting the right notes with your target audience, you must define your brand voice for all of your B2B marketing efforts, especially content and other collateral.
- Key B2B Marketing Channels
You must identify the online (e.g., website, social media, etc) platforms and offline (e.g., trade shows) venues through which you will employ your B2B marketing efforts.
- B2B Marketing KPIs and ROI
You will need to set a desired ROI from your B2B marketing plan. In addition, you will need supporting KPIs to cover the progress of each of your efforts, such as a goal for sales qualified leads (SQL), for example.
- Timelines for Your B2B Marketing Campaigns
Your B2B marketing plan could have multiple campaigns in the pipeline, but you will need to determine when to launch each of them.
- Prioritization of High-Impact Opportunities
You have multiple campaigns, but you must prioritize which ones to implement first and, if necessary, throttle ones that may not provide enough of an impact relative to cost.
You will need to acquire full visibility of how much you will spend on your B2B marketing efforts, be it the campaigns or the in-house (or outsourced) capacity to execute them.
You must define how your marketing plan recommendations will address the issues you identified in your SWOT analysis and deliver on your plan’s goals. You must also offer a contingency plan in case you do not deliver on those plans.
Evaluating the Success of Your B2B Marketing Plan
As noted above, this is a critical part of your B2B marketing plan. The objective here is to ensure that you are achieving your intended ROI goals. If there’s an area of your plan that isn’t working, such as a particular campaign, then you must know how to identify and course-correct.
Setting the Right KPIs
A critical part to evaluating your B2B marketing plan is to set the right B2B marketing KPIs.
These KPIs can range from measuring increases in your website traffic, growth in social media followers, increases in converting readers into leads, and success in lead nurturing (i.e., pushing leads further down the buyer’s journey).
One advantage of digital B2B marketing is that you can measure progress on a granular level, more so than say buying a billboard at an event. In theory, you could say that 1,000 people will view your billboard, you can actually prove whether one of your online ads was seen by 1,000 people and, more importantly, how many of those people engaged with that ad.
You can measure digital B2B marketing metrics by using B2B marketing analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console as well as the built-in analytics of your tools, e.g., Ahrefs, SEMRush, ConvertFlow, etc. You can also build custom dashboards to provide visibility of each digital B2B marketing campaign in one place by using Databox.
Aligning Your B2B Sales and Marketing Efforts
The alignment of B2B sales and marketing teams is not only essential for effective ABM efforts, but it should be the norm in all of your B2B marketing activities.
What Does ‘Alignment’ Mean?
Your sales team needs leads that are sales ready, but not every lead that your marketing team acquires is necessarily sales ready.
To prevent your sales team from spending resources on engaging a non-sales ready lead, you need both sales and marketing to be on the same page.
This is especially important for ABM wherein sales and marketing must work together to focus on a key account. Your marketing team will work on bringing your brand and products/services front and center with the target audience, and your sales team will engage sales ready leads.
Collaboration is Critical
The two should work together by providing their respective experiences (with the target account and others) to build buyer personas, use the right channels, develop content that readers at the key account will want, and more. Use sales’ experience in understanding buyer pain points and goals in your ABM efforts.
One of marketing’s common complaints is that it gives sales a lead, but then it doesn’t know of what happened to that lead. With closed-loop reporting, sales should update marketing on that lead and outline how that lead was strong or weak, enabling marketing to fine-tune how it picks leads to send to sales.
Both teams should have an awareness of how the other operates. This lets them understand how the other team’s activities impact them and, in turn, know how to prioritize campaigns or tailor content.
Shared Service Level Agreement (SLA)
You can also have both teams agree on committing to KPIs of mutual interest. For example, sales can commit to follow-up on marketing’s leads provided marketing only gives leads that meet sales’ criteria.
Businesses with strong sales and B2B marketing alignment report profit 27% faster and close 38% more deals than those without alignment.
Improving Your B2B Marketing Strategy
B2B marketing is an iterative process. In fact, even a perfectly designed B2B marketing plan will need to evolve as buyer behaviors change, market realities shift, and new tools enter the scene.
Just think about how LinkedIn re-entered the discussion of being a major social media platform at a time when the social media environment was dominated by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Now, LinkedIn is indispensable for B2B marketing teams.
B2B Marketing Resources
B2B Marketing Conferences
B2B marketing conferences are an excellent way to closely follow where B2B marketing is going as a whole. These events offer an opportunity to learn about new and emerging trends and tools as well as benchmark against competing B2B marketing efforts. They occur throughout the year and all over North America, so they are certainly accessible.
- B2B Marketing Exchange, Scottsdale AZ
- MarTech Conference West, San Jose CA
- ABM Innovation Summit by Demandbase, San Francisco, CA
- Adobe Summit, Las Vegas, NV
- TOPO Summit, San Francisco, CA
- Gartner Marketing Symposium/XPO, San Diego, CA
- Argyle CMO Forum (year-round in different locations)
- ANA – Masters of B2B Conference, Chicago IL
- CONEX: The Content Experience (different locations in USA & Canada)
- ITSMA Marketing Vision Conference, Cambridge, MA
- B2B Marketing Forum by MarketingProfs, Washington DC
- HubSpot INBOUND, Boston MA.
Get the Right B2B Marketing Tools
To implement your digital B2B marketing strategy, you must have digital B2B marketing software in place to set-up, track, maintain, and improve your online assets.
Your SEO tools will equip you to audit your website in terms of how it’s faring against competing websites for high search rankings. They will also enable you to find the search terms your target audience is using to find content online.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
You can’t run a website without a CMS. Be it in terms of updating your website with new posts or in terms of integrating various tools, each CMS has its strengths and drawbacks. However, the learning curve for mastering each one enough to run a B2B marketing effort is steep.
B2B Email Marketing Software
You can’t expect your sales and marketing teams to manage thousands of email addresses using Outlook or Gmail. You need dedicated software to personalize each email you send as well as keep track of how many are being opened and read, and by whom.
Lead Management Tools
It’s one thing to get people to visit and read your website, but without these tools, you won’t be able to actually convert those readers into leads.
Manually managing multiple social media channels is a headache. You can manage parallel accounts (even multiple ones within the same platform) and get full visibility of engagement, publishing, and other metrics using HootSuite.
Landing Page Tools
From a middle-of-funnel offer such as an ebook to a prompt for scheduling a call with your company, these landing page tools will equip you to engage readers to interact with you in a variety of ways. They will also let you track how people responding to your gated content.
Online Advertising Tools
These tools let you develop display advertising on every major online platform. In addition to publishing at a wide-scale, you will also get visibility on how your ads are performing.
These tools will equip you to monitor how your digital B2B marketing efforts are faring across all of your channels. You can generate granular insights and even develop custom dashboards for viewing them in one macro-level glance.
There is a steep learning curve in using these tools. It isn’t just an issue of knowing how to use them, but learning how to integrate each of them, e.g., landing page software with website CMS and analytics, to properly execute on your B2B marketing plan.
Follow Relevant B2B Marketing Blogs
One way to learn how to use and integrate these tools is to follow the blogs of each of software vendor as well as industry experts.
- SEMRush Blog
- Ahrefs Blog
- Content Marketing Institute (CMI) Blog
- HubSpot Blog
- Convert Flow Blog
- Search Engine Journal
- Unbounce Blog
- Conversion XL Blog
Leverage B2B Marketing Research
From understanding your target audience’s pain points and goals to speaking to your industry as a credible authority, you need research. You can build your B2B marketing research well by consulting a variety of sources ranging from industry publications and government websites.
The specifics of your B2B marketing research work will depend on your B2B marketing plan as well as specific aspects about your industry and target market. For example, journals about new medical devices may not mean much to IT MSPs focused on supporting financial services firms.
Below is a list of research websites and publications relevant to multiple industries.
- Gartner Special Reports
- Deloitte Insights
- CFO Journal by Deloitte and Wall Street Journal
- Statistics Canada
Review These B2B Marketing Books
It doesn’t hurt to have a conceptual understanding of the trade as well. There are a number of seminal B2B marketing books that help explain why any of the above actually matters.
- How to Win Friends & Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Robert B. Cialdini)
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Daniel H. Pink)
- Selling to Big Companies (Jill Konrath)
- The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation (Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson)
- The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results (Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner)
- To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (Daniel H. Pink)
- Fanatical Prospecting (Jeb Blunt)
Look at Today’s B2B Marketing Trends
B2B marketing isn’t static. Yes, digital B2B marketing is evidently dynamic, but so is traditional marketing. From trade shows to field sales operations, you will need to use new tools as well as use new methods of generating awareness about your company.
However, changing dynamics aren’t just limited to B2B marketing in of itself, people also change. Be it the growing role of Millennials in the B2B buying process to the constantly evolving state of technology, your target audience has changing expectations.
In addition to attending conferences and following B2B marketing industry leaders, a good way to keep abreast of these changes is to closely study your competitors’ B2B marketing examples to see if, and how, they are managing the evolving landscape.
How to Get Started
For many B2B businesses, digital marketing is still a new or largely unexplored frontier. As a result, not only are these businesses not well versed in digital marketing trends, but they also lack knowledge of how to leverage the growing digital side of traditional B2B marketing.
One way to bridge that gap is to speak to B2B marketing consultants who already have the expertise and experience in each of those areas.
We at Jumpfactor leverage Agile Scrum with our proprietary E4 methodology to drive our clients’ B2B marketing efforts in all digital domains and beyond. Our clients achieve lead generation and sales results faster than their competition, resulting in 5X greater ROI. Reach out to us today to discuss how you too can get ahead of your competitors.