The success of a product depends on its marketing strategy. The right marketing mix can do wonders in product positioning and reaching out to your targeted customers. Whether you adopt B2C or B2B marketing strategies, your products are always marketed to human beings who are looking for relevance, context, connection and convenience.
Creately, together with G2 hosted a Twitter chat on ‘how to get your B2B marketing right.’ Being the world’s largest tech marketplace where businesses can discover, review and manage SaaS products needed for their businesses, G2 shed some light on strategies that can be utilized for effective B2B marketing.
Given below is a curated version of the chat.
Q1. A growing number of companies using content to market their brand and generate leads. How can brands stand out in their content marketing?
G2 states that authenticity is important when it comes to content marketing. The B2B content you create should be driven by two purposes – help people do their jobs better and propel consumers to “think bigger than in-the-moment challenges they are facing. The company also highlighted the importance of user-generated content (UGCs).
“That’s the stuff (content) that will position your brand as a trusted advisor and thought leader in your space. But anything you can do to leverage your customer’s voice and POV in your content strategy will move the needle more than anything. There’s a reason why UGC is a thing.”G2
Q2. Measuring ROI is one of the top challenges B2B marketers face. What are some simple ways to measure ROI?
“As with anything related to ROI in marketing, you should always start by mapping out your ‘dream state’ for dashboards and reports. From there, you should build your infrastructure to support that outcome.”G2
Firstly, identify the metrics you want to measure. Then set SMART goals for those. This will help you set benchmarks for the ROIs to be achieved.
“…Make sure your attribution and funnel stages map to that (SMART goals for metrics). In B2B, where the sales cycle is longer, content is one part of the total journey.
Consider slicing and dicing the data differently, so you can look at influence. Take an ebook for example. You might be promoting that ebook across multiple channels, so the channel becomes the source but the content becomes the influence.”G2
G2 further added that if this process is too overwhelming, or if you don’t have the stack or marketing operations (MOPs) to build on, the wise practice is to adopt three to five content metrics and solve those.
“You don’t need a team, an agency or an advanced tech stack to capture the KPIs that are most important to you. Take it one step at a time!”G2
Q3. When marketing budgets are slashed, and it may be seemingly impossible to convert convincing leads, what B2B marketing strategies do a business need to adopt?
According to G2, slashed budgets and cold leads provide an opportunity for demand gen marketers to align with sales, and become more focused and targeted.
“Align with your data and sales teams to identify accounts more likely to convert. Tag them in your CRM and then build your strategy to engage those accounts and move them from stages like unaware to engaged.”G2
G2 further states that this strategy will help you plan for your next two quarters, allocate a budget to support a more focused strategy and win these accounts with the sales team. Moreover, make sure to include buyer intent signals in your strategy in order to focus your budget on in-market prospects.
Q4. How important is thought leadership in B2B marketing strategies?
“…Thought leadership is a way to create brand awareness and trust, it’s obviously pretty important.”G2
Thought leaders bring fresh perspectives and insightful analyses into specific subjects. It is prudent for your content strategy to include thought leadership in the form of blogs, videos, panel discussions, etc. Having content related to thought leadership live across all your digital media platforms will drive your SEO/SEM strategy, as it will help people to discover your business when they are looking for what you are selling.
“And, really, what’s more important than being found at the moment someone searches? Not much.”G2
Q5. What is your thought on all-weather B2B marketing strategies?
When in challenging economic conditions, budget cuts are the most common course of action that companies resort to, and of them, the marketing and advertising budget often take the first hit. This is because business survival takes precedence over profit maximization. However, rather than opting straight to cutting costs, a shift in your strategies may work wonders irrespective of whether the times are good or bad.
G2 mentions that many SaaS B2B marketers, particularly those in revenue, growth or demand gen teams are still focusing heavily on new business goals. It’s time to place more of that focus on customer experience. If your customers aren’t privy to a seamless and great onboarding and activation process, you lose prospects for advocacy and expansion.
“…It’s time for demand gen marketers to align with customer experience together, to own the experience from the moment the deal is signed, all the way through the lifecycle. When those goals are aligned, your team can handle even extreme scenarios like COVID, for example.”G2
Q6. Lead generation requires a lot of time and effort. How can businesses ensure to get high-quality leads?
It is important to inculcate a comprehensive understanding of your ideal customer profile (ICP) across every team in the organization. This will drive product-led growth, demand generation and your account-based marketing (ABM) strategy.
“…Your demand strategy should include targeted campaigns and a budget to make sure you’re reaching your ‘tier 1’ accounts (the accounts that are most likely to convert).
Have a lead scoring model in place that includes demographic and behavioural scoring to make sure that your MQLs really are high quality. This will always be a work in progress that requires fine-tuning and optimization as you evolve.”G2
Q7. Some businesses follow the crowd instead of building their own lead generation strategies. What kind of impact would a business face in the long term if they follow the crowd?
B2B marketing, in general, has unique challenges and constraints. However, if you focus on what works for you and your goals, you will be successful in getting through to the target audience.
“Think about when your LinkedIn newsfeed is full of statements like ‘email is dead’. Try not to be reactionary. Instead, unpack how email performs for you and whether it’s a valuable tool in your kit.
Try segmenting at a deeper level to create a more meaningful outreach that focuses on serving content that drives engagement, rather than forcing leads and MQLs.”G2
G2 highlights that you need to block the noise from the crowd, not be reactionary, stay the course and be true to the audience you serve.
Q8. What are some ways to increase the productivity of the sales team when leads don’t convert?
According to G2, the first course of action is to create a list of top accounts and then collaborate with the sales team to identify opportunities to engage those.
“The traditional waterfall or MQL funnel doesn’t necessarily apply to an account-based strategy, so make sure you’re able to measure KPIs that matter at the account level (unaware to be engaged, for example).”G2
Q9. What are the ‘don’ts’ when using client reviews in your marketing?
G2 states that the authenticity and relevance of reviews are vital so that those could be used when conducting promotional campaigns across a variety of channels.
“Make sure the reviews you’re using are current. On a review platform like G2, you can use integrations with Pendo and Medallia, for example, to drive reviews from directly within your app to G2.
This helps generate a flow of authentic and honest reviews to your profile, which you can then leverage in campaigns across multiple channels.”
Q10. How important is the proper alignment of marketing and sales objectives?
Speaking of the right objective alignment between marketing and sales teams in an account-based model, G2 pointed out that sales and marketing teams should collaborate and work towards a common goal from the beginning.
“… It’s funny that we always talk about ‘marketing-sourced pipeline’ when marketing is not responsible for opening a pipeline. We’re responsible for (among other things) running campaigns that are intended to drive awareness, educate the market, and generate quality leads for SDRs and Sales to follow up with and set meetings.
It’s only after the meeting is held and Sales opens an opportunity, that we’re able to recognize ‘marketing-sourced’ pipe. So alignment is critical from the beginning, enabling SDRs to follow up with meaningful outreach, and drive meetings with the right contacts.”G2
Q11. There are several review marketplaces; why is it important to get on board with them and what are the key factors to consider before doing so?
User-generated content (UGC) is key when it comes to brand building and garnering trust among your audience. To this end, G2 states before getting on board with review marketplaces, it is important to revisit your goals and objectives as marketers.
“Demand gen folks, for example, have different goals than product marketers. With a platform like G2, our pipeline-focused customers love our rich integrations, intent data, and reports to fuel their content strategy. On the other hand, product marketers use reviews in grids and reports to fuel their product placement in the market and inform their roadmap.
Think about your own goals and partner with the marketplaces that make the most sense.”G2
Q12. Now customer journeys have become dynamic, what would be the process of identifying the winner?
Modern consumers access content via a variety of sources, devices and media; and they are bombarded with multiple options and choices. Modern customer journeys have become more dynamic since there is a multitude of pathways between a customer’s first interaction with a brand to the purchase.
Today’s marketers face the challenge of reaching out to customers with a consistent message from all these platforms. Therefore, the process of identifying what works best for you lies in innovating and listening to what your customers want. G2 mentions that UGCs such as customer reviews are a great way to identify how consumers perceive your product.
“Look at their G2 profile! Their customers will speak for them.”
Q13. What are the must-do steps for better understanding a B2B target audience?
G2 points out that it is important for the sales and marketing teams to be aligned to internalize the nuances of your ideal customers; understand their designations, pain points, challenges and goals.
“…Speak their language, serve content that matters and meet them where they’re doing research, engaging in communities and solve challenges unique to them.
Help them find you with great SEM strategies, AdWords campaigns, content and programs to keep them engaged. It’s a journey, not a transaction.”G2
Marketing and sales are not about targets or revenue, it is about people. It is about letting your audience know that you have a solution that can solve their problems. The better you understand them and their pain points, the more successful you will be in providing solutions that will resonate with them. B2B marketing strategies are all about creative problem-solving.