If there’s one constant in B2B marketing, it’s change. In the last decade, B2B marketing has incorporated a number of B2C tactics that emerged from buyers’ ever-heightened expectations that B2B purchases should be as intuitive, data-driven and mobile-friendly as regular consumer purchases. Of course, many complexities remain in the B2B purchase process despite all attempts to appear consumer-savvy. These hurdles include:
- Average deal size – B2B purchases are typically BIG investments for buyers
- Number of people involved — There are usually anywhere from 7 to 15 people involved in a B2B buying decision, and all have different roles, needs and motivations
- Decision time — the average B2B sales cycle is still three+ months
Given the aforementioned constants in B2B marketing, today’s blog will focus on the trends you can implement now to max out your pipeline’s capacity and generate more revenue.
Trend #1: Incorporate More AI/ML/Automations Into Marketing Processes
There are several ways you can leverage the power of AI to give your marketing efforts a competitive edge. However, every last single one of these ways requires top-quality data. Fortunately, AI can help you improve marketing data, too. It’s important to note that when talking about AI and machine learning (ML) with regard to B2B marketing strategies, AI and ML are primarily used to automate processes and analyze data in order to improve the customer experience (CX). Below we have a short list of ways you can leverage AI/ML/Automation and take advantage of the time these tools save, the insights they offer, and the competitive edge they all provide:
- Automate Data Cleanliness, Management and Enrichment: Automate the process of cleaning and enriching data before sharing it throughout your organization. This ensures your campaigns are always equipped with the best data and deliver the greatest ROI. It also equips your team with more accurate insights for smarter decision-making.
- Manage Leads: Automate the process of managing leads in real-time and get them to the right sales people to ensure opportunities are maximized and losses are minimized. Research maintains that 78 percent of customers purchase from the first company to respond to them.
- Automate Marketing Campaigns: Send customers and prospects highly personalized and relevant content on their favorite channels, based on data insights from their buying behaviors and preferences. Automating personalized content across channels leads to significant contributions in profitability according to 90 percent of leading marketers.
These are just a few of the ways you can incorporate AI into your marketing approach—and great starting points for getting comfortable with all that AI can do for you. When it comes to putting AI to work for your marketing department, make a prioritized list of the processes that bog you and your marketing operations team down, and then systematically tackle each process on your list by adding AI-driven automations.
Trend #2: Make This the Year Marketing and Sales Join Forces
Sales enablement is one of those tactics that promises great results and yet only 20 percent of B2B sales enablement efforts are successful. While numerous reasons may abound for a lackluster sales enablement approach—lack of relationships/communication, not enough leadership endorsement, clumsy technology, etc.—when you consider that organizations using sales enablement achieve a 49% win rate on forecasted deals, it makes you want to figure out the kinks so you can reap those rewards. If you want to join the 20 percent of companies that are using sales enablement to rake in revenue, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Gather Leaders on Both Sides: Nothing happens without leadership buy-in, so get everyone together and share a few stats on the potential a strategic approach to sales enablement offers. This will help get folks excited about committing to making it happen.
- Interview Top Sales People: Ask the top sales people in your company to meet with your team briefly, as in 15 minutes per person, so you can learn:
Which marketing materials they find the most useful
Which pieces they don’t use (and why)
Which pieces they wish they had
Make sure they know your team’s motive is to make their life better and you won’t be defending tools they don’t use. Your people just want to listen and learn.
- Develop a Content To-Do List: Based on your meetings, create a timeline for developing wanted pieces and revamping unused pieces according to their recommendations. As scary as it may seem, include them in the process by showing them new pieces as they are being developed so they can provide input and develop a sense of ownership.
- Integrate a Content Library with Sales Tech: People are creatures of habit, so make it easy for sales to form new habits of using marketing materials by creating a content library that’s easy to use, filled with content that they can personalize according to their needs.
Trend #3: Make Like B2C and Add User-Generated Content
Today’s B2B buyers are crying out for authenticity and transparency from the companies they buy from. They also research products well before ever engaging with companies. This is why you need to approach your best customers and encourage them to share their experiences. Yes, your customers are busy, but you can do the leg-work for them so that it’s easier for them to endorse your brand’s products and services. Here are a few examples of B2B-style user-generated content that are effective in persuading prospects to become customers:
- Images and Videos – Ask your customer if you can send a photographer/videographer/writer team over to take pictures that highlight boththeir company and its products, as well as their use of yourproduct or service. Share these on all social media channels, from LinkedIn, X and YouTube, to Facebook, TikTok and Instagram—and be sure to tag your customers.
- Testimonials and Product reviews — Ask your customer for quotes you can use on your website. Give customers incentives to complete product and service reviews on Google and relevant trade sites. Develop industry-specific case studies that share their story and results from using your products and services.
- Webinars and Blog Posts — Invite customers to participate as panelists in webinars and as co-editors on blog posts. When you take a cross-pollinating approach and include customers in your interactive sales endeavors you will share lists with each other, and when a customer introduces you to a prospect, that’s the best introduction/endorsement a company can get.
Let’s Make 2024 Your Best Year Ever
At Sureshot, we have a team of experts and a portfolio of data, messaging and CX solutions that are proven to help you realize a greater ROI on your marketing strategy and initiatives. To find out how we can help you go from setting growth and revenue goals to achieving them, start by taking our FREE Martech Assessment.