Category: B2B Marketing

B2B Marketing

How to Turn Your Virtual Sales Team into Superstars…

Unprecedented times. The new normal. We all have our own least favorite catch phrases to describe what it’s like to live through a pandemic, just as we all have our own stories about how COVID-19 has impacted our day-to-day and professional lives. Eleven months into the year, I don’t think it’s necessary to spell out how work life has shifted, in-person engagements have dropped to all-time lows, and how so many people found new work spaces sitting somewhere in front of a Peloton.

What hasn’t changed in the midst of this pandemic and our global shift to working from home is what it takes for sales people to succeed — the ability to adapt. Adapting to fewer (if any) in-person visits, to meeting your customers where they are, to a world of yet-unknowns that will continue to crop up over time. And for those who learn to do this well, there’s a huge opportunity to not just succeed but excel.

Throughout my tech career I’ve worked with dozens of sales representatives. Over the past year, I’ve watched top performers struggle to close a single deal all month. I’ve seen sales people with traditionally challenging territories knock it out of the park. I’ve also had a lot of conversations with my sales reps. Here’s what I’m hearing:

What is the rest of the team doing to succeed? Why is it working for them but not me? Why is it that what used to work for me no longer works?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why adaptability is key. But it leaves an uncomfortable gray area when it comes to how we should change. What it comes down to is this:

How are you adapting to your customers’ needs? How are you adapting your sales process to our new digital-first world? Are you willing to make the changes necessary to succeed? 

As you ponder these questions, here are three ways that technology and insights can help you reach the right answers for you and your team.

1. Collaboration

The best sales reps are not lone wolves. For some, this isn’t a surprise. For others, it may be difficult to let go of being in control, trust others to get the job done, or admit that they aren’t always (and don’t have to be) the smartest person in the room.

There’s value in having multiple roles supporting the sales process. Realizing that you don’t have to go it alone can help you close bigger deals faster and smarter.

  • Understand the roles and functions that surround sales at your company. With this basic level of knowledge, you can’t collaborate effectively.
  • Take stock of where you get the most value. This may not be linear — think about what you need depending on the situation you’re in, or the stage of the sales process.
  • Provide feedback on what’s working well or what could work better. And be open to receiving and acting on feedback as well.

2. Insights & Intelligence

Once you’ve identified your key internal stakeholders and what they bring to the table, it’s important to put that information to work. One of my favorite synergies is when marketing and sales are truly aligned and build a holistic view of the customer journey together. By understanding where your customer has been and where they are now, you can help them get to where they’re going more effectively.

  • Familiarize yourself with your prospects’ activities before they land in your lead queue. When you understand the content that prospects are engaging with on your website and  through their inboxes, you can start identifying their interests before you ever talk to them.
  • Find your account champion. When you’re selling to a company, the purchasing decision typically sits with more than one person. Finding the right contact to facilitate introductions and help sell your product or services internally can make all the difference. If you have visibility into who’s engaging with your content, how much they’re engaging, and how they’re engaging, this knowledge can help you pinpoint how to start the conversation.
  • Invest in artificial intelligence (AI) to remove human bias from the equation and glean insights you may not have known to look for. AI can help uncover a subsegment of prospects that responds more positively to certain messages or identify leads that are most likely to convert into contacts. Using unbiased insights helps focus your efforts where they’ll have the most impact.

3. Organization

Juggling all of your accounts at different stages and with different business needs is hard enough. But when this information is stored in your mind or simply written down, it’s difficult to find, access, and share. Putting effort into the following can go a long way:

  • Use the tools at your disposal. Having a CRM doesn’t help you if you’re not actually using it. When you add and update key information, it helps everyone you’re collaborating with to stay on the same page, and empowers you to draw comparisons across accounts. When processes like lead funnel stages and opportunity statuses are standardized, you can easily look across all of your accounts and prospects to see where the needle is moving and where you’ve hit a roadblock.
  • Make the most of repeatable processes. Each account may need something slightly different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what’s worked in the past and make the necessary tweaks to get it to resonate. Once you know which campaigns helped to push opportunities across the finish line, you can use that knowledge to your advantage. For example, you can maintain a library of email templates that get the best responses. Learn, organize, and optimize.
  • Prioritize your time and effort. There are only so many hours in the day. If you’re ready to start your day with a call blitz, how will you ensure that you’re calling on the hottest prospects first? Using tools like lead scoring and organizing your CRM leads by top lead score first ensures that you’re reaching out in an order that makes sense for your business and is most likely to lead to success.

I’ll ask again: How are you adapting to your customers’ needs? How are you adapting your sales process to our digital-first world? Are you willing to make the changes necessary to succeed? 

Change is inevitable. So think about that last question. I’ve just laid out the key trends I’ve observed in my most resilient sales reps. It’s time for a bit of self-reflection to understand if you’re ready, willing, and able to adapt.

Register for our Dec. 16 Pardot-Like-a-Pro webinar to learn how to sell smarter with Pardot in 2021.

B2B Marketing

4 Phases to Launching New Products in an All-Digital…

In our all-digital world, launching a new product looks a little different than it used to — but there are still lots of ways to do it successfully. All it takes is the right tools and strategies and a lot of teamwork. Here are the four phases that were critical to launching Pardot Premium virtually.

  1. Prep 
  2. Enable 
  3. Launch & Amplify 
  4. Measure & Repeat 

Here’s a closer look at how we executed each phase.

PHASE 1: PREPARE THE PLAN AND BUILD A TEAM 

In a virtual environment, preparing for the launch, building a team, and over communicating the strategies with everyone involved was mission critical. 

First, we secured approval of our new product name and message from our leadership and clarified our vision for the key launch activities we wanted to execute. 

Next, we assembled a great team to ensure the launch would be successful. If you want to spread news about a new product, you have to teach the core group first, so they can incorporate the information and messaging into their own related initiatives. 

To build out the team, we recruited representatives from every line of business ranging from enablement gurus, solution engineers, product managers, and social media magicians to community leaders, partner representatives, sales leaders, analysts, campaign managers, and more.

With this Weekly Launch Quip Tracker Template as our guide, we met weekly on a virtual call to align on key deliverables and work as a unit to meet upcoming deadlines. 

PHASE 2: ENABLE SELLERS AND GO TO LAUNCH WITH THE RIGHT PROMO ASSETS

Our first set of deadlines involved our internal sellers. We hosted multiple training sessions where we enabled over 300 stakeholders, including more than 200 account executives and more than 85 solution engineers. Next, we made sure to enable key partners so that they were aware of the upcoming news and could help our customers realize the power of Pardot Premium. 

Then, it was time to go to launch. To get the word out, we held a successful press event that was attended by 10 global media outlets and 20 analysts. The event has received 10 pieces of coverage to date, including in ZDNet and MarTech Today.

After the press event, we shared the news about Pardot Premium on all of our news and social media channels — more than ten external assets in total. This included a data sheet, webpage updates, a new demo, and blog posts on both the Pardot blog and Salesforce blog

PHASE 3: KEEP AMPLIFYING AFTER LAUNCH

To bring our community of Pardot marketing champions into the conversation following the launch of Pardot Premium, we created a VIT Twitter campaign called #AskAdam. This gave our marketing champions the opportunity to ask Pardot founder and Salesforce executive, Adam Blitzer, questions about our products for a dedicated set of time, live on Twitter. It was also an engaging way to get the community involved and bring to light what was top of mind for customers and prospects. 

The campaign featured 15 different Trailblazers and champions, and it resulted in a total of 66,000 social impressions and 1,400 engagements. Many of our champions have an incredible social media following — and by sharing videos of our executives answering their questions, they helped spread the word about Pardot Premium.

On the sales side, after the launch of Pardot Premium, we ran broader sales training to help amplify the news across our entire sales team. This included a huge training session with hundreds of reps, for which we brought in industry leaders to discuss our customers’ most pressing needs and how Pardot Premium helps. This gave all our salespeople relevant talking points they could use to amplify our message.  

To maintain enthusiasm with our internal teams post-launch, we also started showcasing early-deal win stories. We had a net new deal close within seven days of the launch, which drummed up a lot of excitement — and now, we’re doing deal support and smaller enablements for sales teams that request it as we move to release Pardot Premium in other markets around the world. 

PHASE 4: MEASURE & REPEAT 

Of course, we have pipeline and revenue targets that we’re forecasting for this particular product. Every day we’re thinking about new and innovative ways to bring Pardot Premium to market. 

Every quarter, we build out a plan to continue with efforts that drive the most pipeline, and we’re delivering new programs, content, and support based on real-time feedback from our leadership, product, and sales teams. 

Even this post is an opportunity to amplify our launch efforts! I also hope it inspires other marketers who are launching products virtually. 

  • To help you in your virtual launch planning process, check out my Weekly Launch Quip Tracker Template and Weekly Launch Deck Template with examples from the Pardot Premium launch. 
  • To learn more about Pardot Premium, read the blog post or watch the demo.
B2B Marketing

How to Connect Virtual and In-Person Marketing Experiences in…

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer, but it’s also more complicated than ever before. There are more customers, more channels, and more opportunities to succeed and fail. But these are the challenges that marketers like Nick Runyon, CMO of PFL.com, thrive on.

PFL is a leading provider of tactile marketing automation and helps brands deliver special customer experiences by combining digital marketing efforts with physical direct mail. In the tactile marketing automation equation, gifts and swag plus great digital ads equals excellent customer memories. 

Nick recently appeared on the Marketing Trends podcast to talk about multichannel marketing. With two decades of marketing experience, he joined PFL in late 2019 — just in time for the tumultuous year that has been 2020. Here’s how he’s helped the company keep innovating as the marketplace has shifted to digital.

MAKE VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT AS TACTILE AS YOU CAN

As everyone’s shifted to working from home, many B2B marketers’ prospects have dispersed. If your buyers are no longer in the office, how do you reach them? And once you figure out how to reach them, how do you create experiences that are engaging, valuable, and lead to reliable revenue streams for your company?

Zoom is one of PFL’s clients, and though millions of people are using the free version of Zoom, the company also has an interest in retaining paid customers. To help Zoom achieve this, PFL created customized, interactive landing pages and links that their sales team could send out on a one-off basis. 

Now, Zoom’s sales team sends those links to customers they’re interested in retaining. On the interactive landing page, the customer can explore the value they’d get from upgrading to a paid Zoom account, and choose from a list of customized swag kits to receive for free from Zoom — including items like drink coolers, webcams, microphones, and headphones.

Once the kit is delivered to the customer, Zoom’s sales representatives are immediately notified through PFL’s software, and they can follow up with an email or a phone call. By melding the physical and virtual worlds through gifts and ads, you can create truly compelling and personal experiences for your buyers.

PLUG SALES INTO THE MARKETING EQUATION

In our new all-digital marketing landscape, sales and marketing alignment is more important than ever. At PFL, it’s been really important for sales to plug into everything marketing is doing. The more they know about PFL’s customers, the more relevant their engagement can be. For example, if a customer’s profile says they’re a proud graduate of the University of Alabama and a big college football fan, sales teams can send them Crimson Tide-themed gifts. 

When you can give your customers the gift of a physical object that’s relevant and personalized to their interests, it shows that your marketing and sales teams are thinking about them and value their business. In Nick’s view, that’s a good place to be, and it sets your teams apart from less thoughtful or distracting marketing. 

But the gift doesn’t close the deal. What really matters is providing relevant service and delivering value to the right person with the right product at the right time. No matter how great your swag is, the customer experience across digital and physical channels is key.

MAKE YOUR MARKETING REMARKABLE

In B2B marketing, you have to generate real conversations, not just awareness. After all, it’s no good if a bunch of people know about your product but never talk about it together. To generate the conversations you need, your marketing needs to be remarkable. 

That’s where the value of a physical gift comes in. As Nick says, if there’s something in the room from your brand, that’s a conversation-starter. People want to know where the object came from and the story behind it — and that story has the potential to be a great story about your brand. 

Ultimately, a gift is never just a gift. It’s a storytelling device — especially now that almost every other form of marketing engagement has to take place digitally. A relevant, personalized gift has the power to tell an exciting story and set your brand apart. And with marketing automation, it’s easier to send those gifts at scale.

To get more insights about the power of marketing automation and relevant swag for your B2B buyers, listen to Nick Runyon’s episode of the Marketing Trends podcast.

Artificial Intelligence

Using AI to Create Data-Driven Campaigns to Drive Marketing…

Talk to any B2B marketer about the pain points of their jobs, and you’ll likely hear a common refrain: proving the success of a campaign. Determining the return on investment of a marketing campaign is often a challenge for marketing teams — leaving them scratching their heads and struggling to quantify their success. 

At Wärtsilä, they knew this struggle all too well. 

Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. Based in Finland, Wärtsilä manufactures and services large engines and other essential equipment for vessels and power plants worldwide. With clients all over the globe investing in Wärtsilä’s services, sales cycles can last years. 

Wärtsilä’s leaders found themselves with massive amounts of data compiled in multiple systems. The lack of unity in the data made it difficult for the team to see the full picture of their campaign efforts and draw insights from the results. Furthermore, the marketing team had trouble attributing sales success to the campaigns they were implementing.

Knowing they needed a way to connect the dots in their data to measure success and uncover better insights, Wärtsilä’s leaders tapped into Salesforce’s integrated service platform and began using Einstein Attribution to obtain AI-powered insights from their marketing campaigns.

Integrating marketing, sales, and service

Wärtsilä’s data was stored in multiple systems, which proved to be a huge roadblock for their team when trying to draw actionable insights from the results of marketing campaigns. The first step toward successful attribution measurement required integration of their marketing, sales, and service efforts.

Salesforce offered a single platform for all of Wärtsilä’s data. With Pardot, Sales Cloud, and Service Cloud working together to compile data into one source, the account teams were easily able to connect data from prospects, accounts, and more with Salesforce’s user-friendly interface. 

“Our campaign attribution was much more difficult before Einstein Attribution came into the picture. We used a home-grown model, working with massive data sets across multiple systems,” said Jaime López, General Manager for Marketing Operations at Wärtsilä and a Salesforce Trailblazer. “Salesforce not only allowed us to dig deeper into our data, but made the user experience seamless and easy to use.” 

Now that Wärtsilä’s teams were able to see all of their data in one integrated platform, they could begin to understand the impact of their campaigns, use those insights to boost sales, and prove the value of their marketing efforts.

Measuring ROI and attributing success

Salesforce’s integrated system gave Wärtsilä the strong foundation they needed to start making sense of their data. With the assistance of AI-powered insights from Einstein Attribution, including the new Data-Driven Model, they can better understand the effects of their marketing campaigns and draw actionable and profitable insights. 

Pardot enables Wärtsilä to dive into micro-level insights to uncover detailed findings about their marketing performance. This magnification of detail gives their team the information they need to have more meaningful conversations and spark new ideas.

“Leveraging Pardot’s B2BMA, we now have a much more complete view of ROI and can dive deeper on conversations at a micro level. Salesforce has taken our massive amounts of data across multiple systems and made it all seamless and easy to use . . . This helps us massively in trimming the sails and adjusting our marketing,” said Lopez.

Using Einstein Attribution, Wärtsilä was able to attribute 7x more revenue to various marketing campaigns when compared to the traditional models they had used in the past. The marketing team was also able to credit 8x more leads in Wärtsilä’s pipeline to their campaigns.

And the value of using Salesforce extends beyond their marketing campaigns. Using Service Cloud, Wärtsilä’s customer support team has been able to resolve cases more efficiently. They’re also able to quantify the impact of their customer service operations — even supporting an additional $150k in sales

Pardot’s user-friendly, easy-to-use platform meant Wärtsilä was able to quickly train 150+ users in 30+ companies. With more team members accessing the company’s data, they can approach their marketing, sales, and service as a unified front. As a result, Wärtsilä is capitalizing on their marketing campaigns to boost sales and accurately measure their success. 

  • Learn more about how Pardot’s marketing automation and Einstein Attribution can help define success for your campaigns.
  • Register for Pardreamin’ to learn how to implement the strategy, content, design assets, and technology you need to take your marketing to the next level. #ParDreamin2020
B2B Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing in 2020

Effective marketing is difficult to get right. Between creative demands, budget limits, and channel decisions, marketers have a lot to juggle when developing their marketing strategy.

The biggest determinant of effective marketing, however, is your audience.

If you’re not properly targeting your buyer persona, your promotions and advertisements will likely fall on deaf ears. You might as well not be marketing at all.

Where target audiences vary the most, though, is between individual consumers and businesses. Some companies serve individual shoppers, while others cater to companies and organizations.

Marketing to businesses is very different than marketing to individual consumers. That’s why an entirely different marketing method — B2B marketing — exists, and that’s why we built this guide. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of B2B marketing, the most effective B2B marketing strategies, and how you can tap into and convert your business audience.

HubSpot is an example of a company that engages in B2B marketing. HubSpot’s customers are other businesses, not individual consumers. Therefore, all of our marketing efforts can be classified as B2B.

B2B vs B2C Marketing

B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing are very different. B2B and B2C marketing differ in their respective strategies and applications, as well as in their audiences and how they communicate to them.

B2B marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, their organization (rather than for themselves), thus making the organization the customer. Here are a few examples of B2B companies:

  • A coworking space that leases office spaces to remote teams and freelancers (like WeWork)
  • An on-demand order fulfillment, warehousing, and screen printing service (like Printful)
  • A marketing software company that sells social media management tools, lead generation software, and other marketing tools to businesses and organizations (like HubSpot!)

B2C marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individual consumers who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, themselves, thus making the individual the customer. Here are a few examples of B2C companies:

  • An e-commerce company that sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals (like Poppin)
  • A store that sells t-shirts and other clothing and accessories (like Target)
  • A music platform that sells streaming subscriptions (like Spotify)

Take a look at this chart comparing B2B and B2C customers.

  for b2b marketing for b2c marketing
Goal Customers are focused on ROI, efficiency, and expertise. Customers are seeking deals and entertainment (which means marketing needs to be more fun).
Purchase Motivation Customers are driven by logic and financial incentive. Customers are driven by emotion.
Drivers Customers want to be educated (which is where B2B content marketing comes in). Customers appreciate education but don’t always need it to make a purchase decision.
Purchase Process Customers like (if not prefer) to work with account managers and salespeople. Customers like to make purchases directly.
People Involved in Purchase Customers often have to confer with decision makers and other members of their chain of command before making a purchase decision. Customers rarely need to confer with others before making a purchase decision.
Purchase Purpose Customers make purchases for long-term solutions, resulting in a longer sales cycle, longer contracts, and longer relationships with companies. Customers aren’t necessarily looking for long-term solutions or long-term relationships.

As much as they differ, though, B2B and B2C also intersect in many ways. While Poppin sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals, they also design corporate office spaces and branded supplies. On the flip side, Printful not only offers order fulfillment and warehousing to businesses; they also fill e-commerce printing orders for individuals.

As distinct as the B2B and B2C marketing audiences can be, B2B marketers can always learn from B2C campaigns, too.

B2B Marketing Strategies

As I said above, marketing depends on its audience. While B2B and B2C marketing vary, not every piece of B2B marketing material is alike, either.

In this section, we’ll talk about various B2B marketing strategies you can implement to reach your specific business audience. Before we dive in, though, make sure you understand the B2B buyer’s journey. Take note of how each of these stages may affect your marketing strategies and how you implement them.

B2B Email Marketing

Email marketing is a tried and true method of reaching both individual consumers and business customers. Did you know that 93% of B2B marketers use email? Are you one of them? You should be. Emails lead to engagement which turns subscribers into leads … and then customers.

Download our guide to optimizing email marketing for conversions and learn how to grow your email list, ensure deliverability, and increase engagement.

Unlike B2C customers who respond best to emotions and entertainment, B2B customers look for logic and positive ROI. Essentially, they’re asking themselves, How can your business help my business grow? Because of this, your email marketing must consistently resonate with your business customers and focus on things that matter to them — like time, money, and resources.

Email marketing is also a powerful vehicle for sharing your brand’s content. 83% of B2B companies use email newsletters as part of their content marketing program, and 40% of B2B marketers say these newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success.

With the constant barrage of emails flooding our inboxes today, it’s more important than ever to create and send out effective marketing emails.

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

  • Write enticing subject lines. Think about your email subject lines as a Netflix trailer — if you can’t hook your audience with a two-minute clip (or, in this case, a few dozen characters), don’t expect them to open and watch (or read) the whole thing. We recommend spending almost as much time on your email subject lines as you do on the emails themselves.
  • Stick to one call-to-action (CTA) per email. If you think the number of emails you receive is a lot, take a look at the CTAs in those emails … some are packed with two, three, and sometimes up to 10 different CTAs. Don’t make this mistake, which can leave your recipients’ heads spinning, asking “What should I click on first?” and ultimately clicking on nothing. With one CTA per email, you allow your audience to focus on your email content and ultimately one action … a welcome reprieve from today’s frequent decision-making and analysis paralysis.
  • Segment your email to reach the most relevant audience. Not every email you send will be appropriate for everyone on your list. Your subscribers may be at different stages of the buyer’s journey or be seeking different solutions. That’s where email list segmentation comes into play. Not only does this help you relate to your audience better, but it gives your emails that personal feel that says “Hey, I’m listening and I know what you’d like to see.” Consumers prefer email quality over quantity anytime.
  • Make sure your email designs are responsive. Over 80% of email users access their inbox on their phones, and emails that don’t show up correctly on mobile devices are often deleted in three seconds. Ouch. Don’t let your email be one of those.
  • Don’t be afraid of the cold email. As uncomfortable as it is, the right email can convert new customers — like this cold sales email that won 16 new B2B customers.

👉🏼HubSpot Tip: You can’t send marketing emails without any recipients — these people make up your lists. There are plenty of easy ways to grow your email list. Begin with opt-in forms on your website homepage, About page, and blog. Check out HubSpot’s Free Form Builder tool to get started.

B2B Digital Marketing

Every business, whether B2B or B2C should have a digital presence — which is comprised of paid ads, search engine optimization, a website, and any other place your B2B company is active online. Let’s walk through a handful of tactics that can strengthen your B2B digital marketing strategy.

Define your target audience

A strong B2B digital marketing strategy starts with defining your target audience, or buyer persona. This demographic and psychographic information will inform almost every other marketing activity thereafter, ensuring your content and digital material is absorbed by the right eyes and ears (and that no resources go to waste on your end).

Create your website

Secondly, digital marketing can’t quite function without an informative, engaging website. Over 80% of buyers visit a website before making a purchase. Moreover, since the typical B2B sales cycle often involves many key players (such as gatekeepers, decision makers, and other folks who have to buy into a purchase), websites are easy, straightforward ways for influencers to share information about your product or service.

Optimize your digital presence

Your website needs to be more than informative and engaging, though … it needs to be discoverable. You can do this with on-page SEO and technical SEO tactics. These include everything from image alt-text and meta descriptions (what your visitors can see) to structured data and site speed (what your visitors can’t see). Off-page SEO is also at play here, which refers to external linking strategies and social sharing — SEO tactics that take place off your website.

Run PPC campaigns

Finally, round out your digital presence with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which allows you to get your content and brand in front of new audiences via search engines and other advertising platforms. I recommend maximizing your PPC investment by advertising more than your specific products or services — such as your brand personality, blog or social media content, or company tagline.

The best way to see an ROI from your paid ads is by 1) incorporating your buyer persona data and 2) boosting content that they can relate to. For example, it’s highly unlikely a brand new consumer who’s never heard of you is searching for your exact product. They may be searching for a location-based solution or product feature. To reach the greatest number of potential customers, pay to target relevant categories within your brand vs. promoting your product or services.

B2B Content Marketing

We’ve talked about how B2B customers are focused on expertise, driven by logic, and desire to be educated. What better marketing tool to satisfy these priorities than B2B content marketing?

Whereas a traditional PR marketing strategy interrupts a consumer’s day-to-day with promotional material, a content marketing strategy adds valuable information and informs the consumer — which is precisely what B2B customers are looking for. Not to mention that content marketing supports SEO efforts, which involves anticipating what your audience is searching for, helping them discover your website and content … and potentially converting them to customers.

Download our free guide and learn what topics convert at the highest rate with insight from 175,000 B2B & B2C blog posts.

In fact, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information from an article than an ad. Knowing this, I’d say you should be putting the same (if not more) resources into your content marketing than your traditional advertising strategy.

Because the B2B buyer’s journey is slightly different than the B2C buyer’s journey (which has shorter sales cycles and fewer decision makers involved), the content you create for your B2B content marketing strategy may vary more than the content you’ve seen as a consumer yourself, as illustrated in the below graphic.

b2b-marketing-content-for-the-buyers-journey-graphic

Before you start creating content, though, I recommend creating a business blog. (Don’t worry, growing your blog readership is easier than you think.) Your blog will house all the content you create and serve as a home-base for readers to visit and subscribe to.

B2B Social Media Marketing

Did you know that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media when making a purchase? That’s right — social media marketing isn’t just for brands targeting individual consumers.

Many B2B companies struggle with social media marketing, though. It can be harder to use social media to connect with business customers, especially because (as we mentioned above) there’s typically a lengthier sales cycle and longer chain of command.

Honestly, B2B social media marketing might not be where you convert the greatest number of leads, and that’s OK. It likely comes into play near the beginning of your customers’ buyer’s journeys.

Social media is a powerful tool for building brand awareness, giving your company an online personality, and humanizing your business — all very powerful factors when it comes to marketing and connecting with potential customers. Like email marketing, social media is also a highly effective channel for sharing your content and enhancing your brand expertise, the latter of which we know B2B customers appreciate.

Overwhelmed by social media? Spend more time connecting with your followers with our time-saving suite of social tools.

While your social media accounts might not convert as frequently as your content or email marketing, they’re just as important. In this case, followers are just as valuable — you never know when they might convert to leads or customers.

👉🏼 HubSpot Tip: Why? Content shared by employee advocates receives over eight times more engagement than content shared by brands. So, involve your employees in your B2B social media marketing strategy. Encourage them to create their own social media channels and share about life at your company. Create a culture account (like our @HubSpotLife Instagram) to show what’s going on at work, not just what you’re selling. You never know — this might attract strong talent, too.

b2b-marketing-social-media-employee-engagement-hubspot-life-instagram

B2B Marketing Examples

A B2B marketing approach that works for one business may not work for another, but that’s not to say we can’t learn something from the pros. Here are four B2B marketing examples of businesses who did it right.

Email Marketing: Mattermark, Raise the Bar Newsletter

Raise the Bar is a daily digest newsletter from Mattermark that features insights from leaders in sales, marketing, and growth engineering. It’s hand-picked by Mattermark executives and easy to scan, which is valuable in a world of elaborate, complicated newsletters and daily digests.

b2b-marketing-email-marketing-mattermark-raise-the-bar

This is a good example of B2B email marketing because Mattermark takes the time to educate their subscribers without blatantly selling to them. This action builds trust with their audience while also equipping them with everything they need to know to make a purchase and become a paying customer.

Digital Marketing: Maersk, Website Homepage

It’s nearly impossible to know the intent of everyone who lands on your website, but Maersk’s homepage design makes it easy for visitors to find their way around.

b2b-marketing-digital-marketing-maersk-homepageSource

By offering three main options (“Become a Customer,” “Access Your Account,” and “Start a Career”), Maersk clearly segments their audience and allows visitors to easily navigate to the site content that corresponds with their intent.

This small design tweak also helps Maersk build trust and authority within each of these niche audiences — potential customers, current customers, and even employees.

Content Marketing: LeadPages, Blog + Resources

LeadPages has been bootstrapped since its inception in 2012 … yet it hit over $16 million in revenue just three years later. Its owner attributes its rapid success to its content strategy, which makes it a great example of B2B content marketing.

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LeadPages produces many different types of content resources, such as a blog, customer stories, a podcast, and a webinar. The variety in these resources allows the company to reach customers where they are using the method that best resonates with them.

LeadPages offers a blog that covers themes such as A/B testing, lead generation, and other topics that relate to the product and brand, a weekly podcast that chats with everyday entrepreneurs, and even a definitive guide to landing pages, which equips its customers to properly use and optimize the LeadPages product — all for free.

Social Media Marketing: MailChimp, Instagram

Social media is an effective channel on which to engage with your audience. It’s also a fun place to post gorgeous graphics and show off your brand personality. On Instagram, MailChimp has excelled at both.

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Fewer than half of its Instagram posts have to do with email marketing or the MailChimp product, but the MailChimp team always finds a way to make the posts relevant to its audience and followers — all while featuring fun, engaging, on-brand graphics and videos.

MailChimp also uses its Instagram to feature real customer stories and testimonials, which can have a big impact on potential consumers in the Consideration and Decision stages. Finally, MailChimp makes use of a took called LinkinBio, which allows Instagram users to click-through to its homepage or other digital content (since Instagram doesn’t offer live links on its platform). This creates a clear conversion path for consumers who discover or research MailChimp on Instagram and want to learn more on its website.

Invest in B2B Marketing and Reach Your Business Customers

Marketing isn’t effective unless you keep your audience in mind, and no other audience is as fickle and critical as business customers. Your marketing should communicate how your business can help theirs … and if it doesn’t, you may as well not be marketing at all.

Use these tips and strategies to understand your B2B audience, round out your buyer personas, and effectively use B2B marketing strategies that reach them. When you’re focused on your audience, your marketing will do the same.

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