By Laurie Fullerton, www.thedrum.com
With B2B sales and marketing teams facing the need to stay relevant amidst ongoing automation tools entering the workplace, one of the key ways to ensure your team stays on top is to look at four important trends in both disciplines.
Once the domain of the sales department, increasingly account-based marketing (ABM) strategies in B2B can deploy advanced sales and marketing tools to work with content inventory and other assets to create a more collaborative sales and marketing effort. It also means that B2B marketers can show how their advertising campaigns directly influence sales opportunities.
One reason that account-based marketing should take a front seat for B2B marketers is that personalization and engagement marketing are increasingly taking precedence over click-through-rates and form submissions where marketers are working off data and reaching out to unqualified leads. B2B marketers have a far longer and multi-faceted buying cycle and need to target leads at unique stages in the sales process. ABM is a good start in influencing the variety of leads and opportunities at their varied stages.
A second important development is the advent of customer experience technology, with the level and quality of personalized and engaging experiences a key determinant in who builds a real relationship with a customer, according to a recent Forrester report. With the user experience gaining momentum as a very important strategy, B2B marketers can now use technology to gain an advantage on customer data and in turn deliver personalized experiences throughout their marketing channels including email, web, apps, text and print.
A third trend that B2B marketers can follow is the practice of asking their sales development team to share the intelligence that has become the lifeblood of sales organizations since the dawn of Salesforce in the 1990s. By adopting the tools and blending the tasks of prospecting, emailing, scheduling and logging lead information, and fitting it into the realm of marketing automation, there is the possibility for true collaboration. Marketing automation can help provide sales content support (e-books, case studies, sales decks) at a time when the buyers journey is also enhanced with the advent of engagement and personalized marketing of content and thought leadership.
Finally, a recent report by Ignite Media cited that there is a 44 per cent decline in organic promotion of brands on Facebook , and B2B marketers will see their marketing efforts trapped behind the Facebook pay wall if they don’t act. Today, one has to pay to play with Facebook, Twitter and Linked In who are forever pushing the benefits of sponsored content advertising. However, there are some solid B2B content strategies to promote organically through social channels that can keep the integrity of your native social advertising intact. With ad blocking growing an estimated 48 per cent this year according to a report in Pagefair the need is ever stronger to have a strong content strategy that is authentic, informative and takes a thought leadership role.