Business-to-business (B2B) marketers are still facing challenges that include generating quality leads, longer sales cycles, fewer marketing dollars to spend and staying connected with their customers and their sales force, as well as with dealers, dealers and distributors. However, leading companies are wisely moving their marketing strategies and tactics. They reject a defensive stance by laying the groundwork for future business while ready to take advantage of the recovery as it happens.
Taking advantage of the upswing requires attracting and engaging leads so you can identify the best and convert them into sales. It also requires the care of prospects who are not ready to buy now but who may be ready to buy later. Successful B2B marketers strategically nurture Leads through email, CRM (social media) and social media integration.
As we explore where B2B marketing is headed, it is helpful to think about it in terms of outbound and inbound communications. Outbound communication is known as interrupt marketing. This includes telemarketing, direct mail, email explosions and advertising, television and radio. Inbound communication is known as permit marketing. Permission marketing includes search engine optimization and marketing (SEO / SEM) and personal email, as well as interactive communications such as blogging, social media, and free tools and trials.
Permission marketing allows B2B customers to receive information they actually want and need. And typically, they seek thought leadership and industry insight. They will download white papers, watch informative videos, read case studies, experience a product demo and attend educational webinars. Permission marketing is typically the most effective of the two because audiences are more receptive to the information and messages provided.
The more you can target your message to specific audiences most likely to buy your product or service, the more effective your marketing will be. Splitting your audience into groups based on key attributes such as industry, revenue, number of employees, location, and purchase preferences allows you to reach the right people at the right time with the right message.
B2B marketers who want to take it a step further are increasing their emphasis on lead scoring in their drive towards greater return on investment. Lead scores apply specific values to key attributes to determine which prospects are most likely to make a purchase.
But B2B marketing is more than just communicating with customers. It communicates with dealers, dealers, distributors and your sales force. These individuals have a huge impact on bringing buyers to the table. They need to have current, accurate and compelling data to do their job well.
How can you implement a comprehensive B2B marketing program that allows you to reach the right people with the right information in the right way? Getting it done means investing in improving lead care and lead quality. This means better conditioning of leads before they reach your sales force and better align with sales. And that means using ROI analysis to guide your marketing investment, so you dedicate your funds to the best-performing activities.