The Definite Guide to B2B Lead Generation and Sales Velocity
Generate more B2B leads, improve your pipeline velocity and close more customers.
The Importance of B2B Digital Marketing
Virtually all companies today use the Internet daily and could not function in the same way without receiving the advantages offered by this technology.
As an entrepreneur, you may be used to searching, sending and receiving information from colleagues, customers, and suppliers, requesting electronic invoicing through the web and storing documents in the cloud.
But despite having incorporated the use of the Internet in such a natural way to your daily work, it is possible that your company is not taking advantage of digital marketing or even have a website.
This is a relatively common phenomenon among B2B companies and, if it is your case, you should know that you are falling behind and you are missing out on great business opportunities. If you are still not convinced of implementing it, we explain how digital marketing can help B2B companies.
The main benefit of B2B digital marketing is to help you increase your company's sales. This is because 98% of companies look for their suppliers online.
A good digital marketing strategy is designed to accompany the client throughout the purchase process, which starts from when he discovers that he has a need ( awareness ) and culminates when he acquires a product or service.
After the discovery or awareness stage, the research process begins. In this stage, the client looks for the options that there are in the market, compares characteristics, suppliers and prices.
The most common is that the search is done online since it is the easiest and fastest. Having seen the different options, the client goes to the decision stage to decide between one brand or another, depending on their needs, then take action and carry out the purchase. If when looking for information your company does not appear on the Internet, you will have lost a client.
One of the most used strategies in B2B digital marketing is email marketing, which contacts potential customers by email, helping to grow your customer base. Also, it helps you to keep your customers through loyalty.
Brand loyalty is mainly achieved through the process of accompaniment and communication carried out by your company in the shopping cycle, and that occurs through your website, social networks, your blog and video channels.
If your website is attractive and offers complete information, provide online support, create quality content and send emails at the right time, you will be able to provide a positive experience to your customers. And when you get satisfied customers, you also build more lasting relationships.
Digital marketing helps you to have a more in-depth knowledge of your clients and that allows you to provide more personalized attention and even anticipate your wishes.
Branding is the process of building your brand, and digital marketing is a handy way to achieve it. It refers to the attributes, benefits, quality, and category of your brand, and has the function of impacting clients and potential customers before starting the purchase process, that is before the awareness stage takes place.
When you have a consolidated brand, you can reach your future customers before the purchase process. This means that the brand has more opportunities to be chosen over the competition since the client will not have too many doubts when deciding. This translates into a considerable saving of time and money.
Considering the digital age in which we live, it is not an exaggeration to say that, if you do not have a digital marketing strategy, your brand practically does not exist.
But having a presence on the Internet by itself is not enough, and it is important to project an image that is perceived positively by users and distinguishes your brand from the competition.
For example, you should ensure that your website and your presence on the networks reflect the values of your company and are designed to the satisfaction of your customers and your prospects.
You should also offer clear and truthful information about the company, as well as detailed information about your products or services, including FAQ section or frequently asked questions and answering the specific questions of the users there.
All this helps to improve the image of your company client because they are the primary elements that Internet users will want to consult on your website.
Maintaining a right image of the brand also implies generating quality content. Like branding, building a brand image in digital media means saving time and resources.
When your company has a clear B2B marketing strategy, you and your team can define realistic and measurable objectives in the short, medium and long-term in a more effective way. Digital marketing facilitates the process thanks to the online analytical tools that are available.
You can access free programs like Google Analytics to measure and evaluate the performance of your website. Social networks like Facebook also offer alternatives so you can assess the success of your brand profile.
Also, one of the objectives of B2B digital marketing is to achieve a proper SEO positioning to get your company to appear in the first places when the client performs a related search over the Internet.
In short, B2B Digital Marketing brings many benefits to your company. It helps to build an image of your brand and saves you a lot of time and money in the search for new customers. It also facilitates the fulfillment of your objectives and lets you know where to direct your efforts.
The digital presence facilitates the process to obtain feedback from your clients through comments on your website and social networks, or through satisfaction surveys sent by email.
This will allow you to improve your products or services, as well as create new ones that respond to the needs of your customers and potential customers.
Why you Need a B2B Marketing Strategy
Designing a winning B2B marketing strategy is a need that, although you must address promptly, will represent an enriching experience as you see the results and that, without a doubt, will bring extraordinary benefits for your company.
Relationships are usually too formal, and there is little interaction. B2B marketing strategies achieve greater closeness with the owners of other organizations, thanks to the possibilities offered by the web 2.0 (social web).
A broader reach: the reach becomes much broader when taking into account the digital channels: social networks, web pages, and email marketing.
You have at your disposal a variety of tools that you can combine and adapt to offer your products and services in an innovative way and the digital media used by your potential customers.
However, to enjoy all these advantages, it is necessary to define the strategies that you will implement carefully. For this, it is utterly fundamental that you establish objectives, both quantitative and qualitative, that are measurable and achievable in a given time.
Content marketing has become a sales strategy that has generated excellent results, due to its approach to attracting potential customers, through information and quality content that helps them solve their problems, taking the opportunity to show them your products or services, following precisely the different stages of purchase in which they are.
There are many examples of content marketing designed for B2B companies; the key is to tailor the content to your company and according to the needs of your customers; therefore it is necessary to know them in detail.
Social networks have achieved a remarkable global reach, and have become a powerful tool in the hands of companies to attract customers, thanks, in part, to the possibility of interacting with them directly.
It is crucial that you incorporate these channels into your strategic digital marketing plan, using the right social network. In this sense, LinkedIn has become one of the favorites for B2B companies, without leaving aside the benefits of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, among others.
Define what your B2B digital strategy will be through social networks, always thinking about your target audience. Large B2B companies such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and SAP are taking advantage of these tools to establish a direct and personalized conversation with their clients.
This strategy consists of scheduling actions and preparing automated emails to potential customers, with powerful messages that invite them to purchase and generate the feeling that you are focusing on them in a personalized way.
Email marketing is widely used by B2B companies, since they contribute to generating loyalty and web traffic, increasing conversion rates, with a lower cost compared to other digital strategies.
Consumers have changed their way of buying. They no longer go out in search of a product or service without having first consulted and compared its benefits with other brands through the Internet, their quality, comments from other customers, their position in the market and their cost.
Therefore, it is necessary to take care of the design and navigation experience offered by your website. In this context, it is also important to keep in mind that, as mobile technology evolves, consumers increasingly use their computers, taking advantage of the comforts provided by their cell phones.
Therefore, the design of your website must contemplate a responsive model, with a comfortable and efficient adaptation to mobile phones.
However, what is the point of having a great website if there is no traffic? Among the most used strategies for getting search traffic to your site, are the following:
The purpose of influencers is usually associated with B2C digital marketing campaigns. However, if you select the ideal person that can refer to your brand, that has an audience according to your target and shares the values of your company, you can take advantage of its authority, authenticity, and scope to generate awareness and spread information about your offering.
How to Start B2B Demand Generation at your Company
Every company must learn how to generate demand using digital marketing strategies. This process includes raising attention in Social Media, a suitable level of investment in every digital channel available, as well as a solid paid advertising strategy. So, pay close attention to this section to get the best out of your time and resources.
Before selling anything, you need to understand who are your target clients. Thus, building Buyer Personas will define the course of action for your brand, so you need to include as many features as possible, such as age, income level, main interests and also their buying habits and the technologies and media they are interested. When it comes to B2B customers, it is also vital to address them in the language of their industry.
This process will help you to create functional models to start an effective marketing strategy. Making it more accessible, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and answer a few questions: What am I looking for? How much am I willing to spend to get the high-quality products I need for my company?
A corporate blog is an excellent tool for B2C companies, but it can also work like a charm in B2B Marketing. Each one of your customers is looking for precise information, so give them the right answers by blogging, as follows:
Your B2B clients are efficient. So, don’t make them waste time and bring them the kind of content they’re looking for. This includes articles about the great experiences other companies have had by using your products and all kind of tips and advice.
The content in your blog doesn’t necessarily imply a direct commercial transaction. Nevertheless, you need to lead those customers to your eCommerce platform in a subtle way. This is where SEO techniques enter the scene: keywords, relevant pictures, and hyperlinks are significant to raise interest and generate the demand you are looking for.
For example, your brand will start a new campaign to attract companies looking for great-capacity air conditioner systems. Your articles in your blog can tell a little about the features of such products and the way they promote a cleaner environment. On the other hand, the videos and pictures you will include must redirect each customer to another landing page where they can find out more about your offer. Also, remember to include a Call to Action button, whenever it suits your content.
To generate demand in B2B advertising strategies, you must base your policy on analytical data, rather than behavioral aspects. In other words, this means that you shouldn’t care a lot about the previous purchases your clients have made, among other factors. Instead, you must focus on aspects shown by your data analysis, such as:
Whether they are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram, keep this data on hand, as it will indicate the level of investment you will run in each one of them.
Maybe the data will show that 80% of those executive leads prefer smartphones, but could also surprisingly show that 50% of them still favors desktop computers. Be as it may, you will take this into account to map your advertising strategy.
From using proper techniques in Video Marketing campaigns to delivering useful content through the Buyer’s Journey, remember that Inbound Marketing is the key to get and keep great customers. Use Social Media to share and promote high-quality educational content created to satisfy your customer's most urgent needs.
So you succeeded in your B2B Marketing efforts and got the demand you were expecting for. Once you have your new clients, you must nurture them in the right way, as this will guarantee their loyalty for an undetermined lapse of time. Turn to Email Marketing for this purpose, as this technique will help you to build enduring relationships with every one of those users, even when the buying process is over.
The process to generate demand in B2B strategies will force to leave your comfort zone to start a multichannel plan. Give yourself the time to study all these tips so that you can give every step with absolute confidence. Remember: great content, a flawless paid advertising program and proper attention during and after the buying process, will get you the best results possible.
B2B Content Marketing for your Business
A Content Marketing strategy is actually mandatory for B2B companies. Through this process, your brand will build a solid presence in digital media, thus reaching a larger audience.
Your business needs to be seen and discovered by other firms looking for the product or service you offer. So, get ready to start, so you can meet your goals faster than you think.
Any B2C company finds its clients virtually everywhere. Let’s say, they post a blog article on Facebook and that’s it: within minutes, hundreds or thousands of potential customers will discover your content, increasing the chance to generate conversions and sales.
However, for a B2B company, the scenario is substantially different: your clients are also brands and companies like yours, meaning that maybe you only need fifty important customers or less for your plan to succeed.
So the question is: where are you going to find those clients? Let's say, for example, that you own a software brand who sells payroll automation systems to companies with over one thousand employees.
You have a wonderful product, but you have no idea, whatsoever, of how to sell it to those CEOs looking for it through the internet. Actually, you only know about old marketing techniques, like phone calling or newspaper and TV ads.
Fortunately, a B2B Content Marketing plan is the best answer to this problem, as proved as follows.
This type of Marketing will help you at different levels, all of them equally important.
One of the easiest ways to be found on the internet is through a simple Google search. So, the best technique to achieve a great web positioning is Blogging.
Actually, the main tool to attract the clients you need is a corporate blog with regular, SEO-optimized content in different formats, like text, video, photographs, GIFs and podcasts.
However, you need to produce a special type of information for your B2B leads and that is educational content. So, follow these tips to deliver this kind of high-quality material to your future clients:
-Create content to guide them through the buying process: your clients need straightforward answers. So, produce blog posts to help them make the best choice possible, detailing the features of your product, how it solves their needs and how it has changed the everyday experience of other customers.
-B2B marketing also means supporting your clients at any moment: in other words, the real challenge will be keeping their attention and loyalty after the buying process has concluded. The best way to do it is through evergreen content, targeted to the companies trying to get the best out of their acquisition.
A Social Media Strategy will complement your Content Marketing efforts, allowing you to reach larger audiences through different platforms, like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
There are two ways to succeed in Social Media:
-Promote the content from your different digital platforms.
-Create original content for every social network. For example, if you own a construction company and you need to promote it on Instagram, use its new IGTV feature to post longer, attractive videos for your potential customers.
Most CEOS and company owners looking for your products, surf the internet through their smartphones and tablets. Hence, you need to take advantage of that traffic through some specific techniques:
-Create your own app: the word “content” doesn’t only mean text and images. So, can you imagine the potential market behind a cutting-edge application for your B2B customers?
-Optimize your web content for the mobile market: this includes Email Marketing and Blogging. Remember that each one of these platforms needs to be 100% responsive.
After following all these steps, you will achieve greater than life goals:
-More sales and conversions.
-A loyal base of customers.
-A great brand reputation.
Your Content Marketing B2B strategy is the key to new business possibilities. All that hard work will translate into satisfied customers and an excellent web presence.
So, do you need any more reasons to start your plan today?
Why is B2B Marketing Automation Important?
You have probably heard about marketing automation and have seriously considered whether you should change the internal flow of manual action to an automated one.
Technology, in most cases, guarantees speed and efficiency, and this is why you should consider giving marketing automation a chance.
Marketing automation, as the name indicates, is the use of software to perform marketing actions in an automated way.
Thanks to these applications, a company can perform actions that would naturally be difficult to achieve efficiently, resulting in better products, improved control and monitoring.
The most relevant automation examples are lead nurturing (mass emails that are sent automatically after site visitors carry out a specific action) and lead scoring, procedures by which a business can evaluate at which stage of the purchase process is each one of the leads appearing on the company's database.
These two procedures are essential to convey users to the benefits that can be provided by the product or service offered by the company, therefore bringing them closer to the purchase.
Like all options of action in the industry, marketing automation has some definite advantages. For example, it allows developing complex marketing processes that, naturally would be difficult or could not be done quickly by manual work. Besides, it provides more efficiency, reducing costs and working time.
Thanks to this, the company obtains a greater control of the marketing actions, allowing a more detailed follow-up of the impact of each one of the activities that they implement so that it can modify them if it so requires.
Instead of having to separate your customers according to their needs and preferences manually, marketing automation allows you to automatically segment your database, creating segments based on the stage of the sales cycle in which your customers are located at a particular moment.
This segmentation process will allow you to reach the mind and heart of your clients more effectively. This way, your customers will receive messages with content that is relevant to their specific needs.
Marketing automation also allows designing the processes of educating and maturing a database automatically (lead nurturing).
Thanks to automation, emails and suitable content are delivered to the right user at the right time.
One of the main short-term benefits of using this technique are that they automatically detect the leads that are most prepared to receive a commercial offer, taking into account their profile and behavior with the company (lead scoring).
Manually cultivating each lead can take a long time, but above all directly affects the loss of it, along with the lack of efficiency. Therefore, a marketing automation solution helps to connect with them from the beginning of their interaction with your company's assets.
Through these same tools and techniques, you can find formulas that help you understand the user's behavior with a brand, web e-commerce, on a day-to-day basis, since he acquired the product.
Thanks to this knowledge, it is possible to design automated campaigns to generate more business and get more out of the relationship that a company has with each of the customers of its database.
However, these are not the only areas of the companies that can benefit from the use of automation tools. In addition to the ones you already know, you can find programs that help you with your social media marketing, metrics and analytics, and the general management of your marketing activities.
The most visible advantages from technologies that make marketing automation possible have enabled more and more B2B companies to use strategies that include automation technology.
According to data released by Bold Digital and the marketing tech company, SimilarTech, more than 41% of companies in the United States use some type of marketing automation software.
What's more, according to Regalix, in 2015, over 79% of the B2Bs around the world used automation.
This year's data by Forrester Research shows that marketers will increase their investment in this sort of technologies by 27% over the next few years. This figure will only translate into more and better-qualified leads.
Marketing automation is here to stay and to facilitate the way you carry out your marketing actions, offering solutions that allow you to optimize both your time and your resources and thus obtain better results regarding customer conversion.
Marketing automation used correctly is a potent tool that generates excellent results for both small and large companies.
Improving your B2B Sales Strategy
Within the broad world of marketing, there are various practices and strategy types you can use to reach potential customers and increase your sales. Here are some specifications and strategies that will help you to win customers and increase your sales in this area.
• It's aimed at smaller niches than B2C (Business To Customers).
• The buyer’s journey and the purchase decision process may be longer than in B2C.
• Industries tend to be more specialized and in need of tailored products and solutions.
• Clients tend to have a greater sense of fidelity towards a product or service.
In the process of attracting B2B customers, several factors come into play. The loyalty mentioned in the previous point is based on a solid relationship between the sales staff of the company and the client.
The confidence generated by your company is crucial and can be achieved with actions such as having great technical support, a clean, updated website and a blog that creates trust and where content relevant to your customers is shared.
1. Having an online presence with an optimized website where customers can find information that helps them with their needs.
2. Align marketing and sales departments. Your sales force is the one in the most direct contact with your customers; therefore, they are a handy source of feedback when evaluating marketing strategies.
3. Referrals. One of the best ways to attract new customers is through satisfied customers and their stories, which you can publish on your site.
Additionally, word of mouth through social media can also increase your potential customers and sales while generating trust in your brand and its products or services.
Inbound Marketing activities are carried out focused on attracting potential customers to capture their interest and build trust. But it is not enough to attract visitors to your website, as it's necessary to convert those visitors into potential customers.
This can be achieved by giving useful information in exchange for information about your potential customers (emails, phone numbers, etc.).
From the collection of all the data, it is time to strengthen the relationship with them so that they go from being potential customers to your brand’s ambassadors.
Social networks can be a powerful tool to keep in touch with the customers and associates of your business. For archiving this goal, it is essential to maintain continuous monitoring of your social networks, combined with adequate planning and above all, sharing useful content to your previously defined audiences.
The concept behind Social Selling is to make use of social networks to connect with potential customers and joining them through the buyer’s journey.
It is not about selling directly on social networks, but rather to create a relationship with these potential customers to guide them in a process where a sale is achieved in the last step.
It is also important to know that talking only about you or your company or product is not advisable and that it is better to share information that is useful for your potential clients and target audience.
Business-to-business sales require knowing in depth who your ideal client is, and creating trusting relationships between your company and your clients.
Focusing on providing value and useful resources will allow you to attract potential customers and turn them into ambassadors of your brand without any additional spending.
In the long run, using these techniques will help you develop your business into a respected brand, as long as you always remember to keep all the other aspects of your company in order.
How can ABM help?
When it comes to marketing, there are several ideal strategies and methods to approach it depending on the business type.
Account Based Marketing (ABM), also known as key account marketing, has been proven to be successful in the case of Business-to-Business (B2B) companies, as it helps develop an approach explicitly based on goals for target accounts.
This way, ABM provides a method for businesses to communicate prospects or markets individually. Instead of a one-to-many methodology, ABM aims to be a tailored, one-to-one solution to make sure the goals are reached with each one of these partners.
Historically, this approach has been mostly used in enterprise-level companies with employee numbers in the thousands, but the benefits of its features can surely be of help to all types of businesses in this area.
There are six vital steps to develop your ABM B2B strategy:
- Situation Analysis: Do your research to define the best accounts to set as targets.
- Target structuring: Define who are the decision makers in each account.
- Content: Customize your marketing messages to fit their interests.
- Strategic plan: Define which communication channels will be used.
- Campaign: Spread the message to the selected targets.
- Measurement: Analysis and study of the results to optimize the following actions.
Integrating account-based marketing strategies is easy if you take it in the same way as the personalized treatment you give to B2C customers. You have to personalize and take care of each one with detail and attention, so you’ll develop a good relationship with them.
Being an account-based strategy are several benefits when using ABM for B2B companies since the B2B area mostly requires specifically developed solutions and approaches that can be solved by its use, and cannot be covered by more traditional paths such as online/offline advertising, PR and SEO. Some of them are:
- Better use of resources: A typical marketing strategy usually requires attention from many sides. Using Account Based Marketing allows streamlining any efforts and resources into the most important clients (accounts) to assure an optimal level of revenue.
Setting such a defined focus allows optimizing your teams, hence saving your company time and money. And not only that, as it also helps improve communication and collaboration between sales and marketing departments, keeping them in sync with your company’s most important objectives.
- No dead-ends: Using Account Based Marketing, marketers for B2B companies can dedicate most of the time to the already prioritized accounts or prospects. Correctly setting their targets will mean they won’t be wasting time and energy on lost efforts but defining the most valuable -and viable- ones, creating a more streamlined strategy and a more explicit approach.
- The synergy between Sales and Marketing deepens: Even though it’s not much of a problem to have sales and marketing departments working individually, there are many benefits to improving their communication and collaboration to keep them at the same pace, and on the same tracks.
Using Account Based Marketing requires your company to make this work, as it needs them to work together to identify target clients, developing and monitoring the success of a campaign. ABM is better for B2B companies because it helps them focus on their goals with all resources available, at the same time.
- Precise Tracking: As it’s the case with any other marketing strategy, not only development is necessary, but also a strong capability to track its results. Using Account Based Marketing allows you to quickly identify every component in your strategy, thus enabling you to monitor its performance with more accuracy than other approaches, especially in the case of B2B companies.
- Continuous Optimization: Never underestimate the importance of your tracking data, as it gives valuable insights on your targets. With the help of latest-generation tracking tools to keep you well set on your goals, it is possible to tweak every step of your strategy or even building it from scratch depending on the results that come along the way.
- Increase in revenue: According to recent studies, 80 percent of marketers say that ABM outperforms all other channels when it comes to ROI. It has even more significant benefits when looking at the long-term picture since when used for at least a year, 60 percent of users reported an increase in the ranges of 10 to 19 percent and an overall impact of at least 30 percent.
As you can see, developing an Account Based Marketing strategy is possibly the best option when marketing to B2B prospects, thanks to its immense potential of setting precise targets and tracking capabilities that will surely help reach your business goals.
What are the best techniques?
The apparent complex B2B Inbound Marketing environment can be summarized in some short, easy-to-understand points that any manager can put into practice right now.
Pay attention to this information before launching your next campaign and see how these techniques can skyrocket your brand’s digital game.
The first step to B2B Inbound Marketing comes with understanding exactly who your target is: the “buyer persona”; especially when you have different audiences.
Therefore, identify their interests, behaviors, objectives, needs, motivations, expectations, buyer preferences, frustrations, hobbies, and any other relevant information that can help you define their profile.
This strategy will lead you to communicate your message with the right audience, building meaning and value for your business.
Most of the B2B companies’ audiences are looking for the most relevant information possible. Think of a CEO, for instance, a very busy person trying to find the product or service you offer to your clients.
Every time he visits your website, he needs to be attracted to your brand through smart content. Here you have some valuable ideas:
Your digital media platforms need to showcase your company’s vision and ongoing work to please the customers. Every little detail will be necessary, such as:
As nowadays companies and brands search for your products online, your website must be an excellent platform SEO-wise.
It means that if you want to get your brand right in front of their eyes through SERP results, you will need to optimize your site so they can be more interested in finding long-term solutions to their needs rather than getting a quick fix.
There are some aspects to consider to increase your online visibility organically:
By working hard on creating great content for your blog or social media, there’s a higher probability of getting more leads and sales. So, you need to go further and organize your writing workflow according to this:
Write in-depth pieces of content of different lengths with different purposes: For example, your clients will demand very detailed information about some topics, like the way your products benefit their strategies.
Leverage that demand for great B2B content and give them longer pieces of content on your blog (let’s say from 1,000 to 2,000 words) that will generate both high-quality traffic and prospects.
Moreover, the process of content creation on Social Media will demand more imagination and great effort.
As each social network is different, it is recommended to analyze the behavior of the audience depending on your social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn.
Some great tips to help you effectively manage and optimize your social activities are:
The different B2B Marketing strategies will take your company to a higher level of success as long as you run proper research of all factors before starting every campaign.
Aim at creating compelling, need-fulfilling content for every different media to increase your conversion rate while strengthening long-lasting business relationships.