2021 represents a great challenge for business-to-business marketing (B2B). Big changes in budgets, changes in the way of meeting with decision-makers, different lifestyles caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, new technologies and an acceleration in the digital transformation of companies are just the top of the pyramid of challenges that 2021 brings for B2B relationships.
According to a HubSpot’s Study, companies with a correct integration between marketing and sales departments are up to 4 times more effective, under well-defined guidelines.
Sales and marketing departments must have a mandatory alignment, where information is shared at all levels of the process or purchasing circle of the service or product offered.
The main function of the marketing team is to convey the information of the company to the different potential clients. In other words, they monitor the new acquisitions of customers or new leads.
Some specific marketing team responsibilities are: Buyer Persona definition, commercial strategy configuration, design communication plans and manage official company channels such as social media profiles or paid media ads.
Sales team has the responsibility of accompanying potential customers during the different processes of purchase or acquisition of services to make a positive decision. (close a business).
These two roles must be integrated openly and without prejudice, with total transparency, seeking a synergy for joint work. This joint application of this strategy is knows as SMarketing (sales + marketing).
Videos are essential at different levels of the sales cycle for business-to-business services. This content format makes it easy to share information between the axes that influence decisions.
For example, there may be videos that explain the services on offer, which are very important in the sales cycle in its early stages.
Google explains that 70% of B2B buyers watch videos during the information process about a service. For these decision makers, 2-3-minute videos are a crucial source of information that through proper narration and a good storytelling, conveys the right message at the right time.
Personalized emails displaying brand and company information have been shown to increase transaction rates on a 6x. A recent report published by LinkedIn revealed that around 50% of all B2B social traffic is generated from LinkedIn, thanks to that generated traffic, 80% of all leads are derived not only from your published content, but also from your channel of email marketing distribution.
Specific aspects of personalization that are very basic, but a good practices: the full name, the position, the company, and the message are key to increase the relevance of the emails received. You should consider the question potential customers are asking: "How can your business help my business grow?" It is key for the relevance and personalization of emails to be effective.
According to HubSpot, 80% of B2B content specialists use newsletters and 80% of specialists use email marketing to drive customer acquisition and retention. In addition, it brings us 4 specific points of improvement in email strategies:
Podcasts are one of the content formats most appreciated by senior business executives, and this is the key target audience for companies offering B2B products or services. So, it is a strategy that should be very relevant in 2021.
It is known that a B2C marketing strategy interrupts the consumer's daily life with promotional material; A B2B content marketing strategy adds high-value information, which is just what potential customers in this industry are looking for. It is also key to mention that content marketing supports organic SEO positioning strategies, which helps anticipate what your audience is looking for, helping them discover the website, the relevant content, all this so that they become potential customers.
According to a survey conducted by ContentWriters, 61% of companies offering B2B services now post content multiple times a week. Additionally, 89% of those digital marketers mentioned that they got higher quality leads through content marketing, compared to other tactics.
The difference in 2021 will be how to use content marketing more effectively. Touchpoints that are traditionally considered B2C will be even more critical in B2B content marketing in 2021. Additionally, the most recent updates from Google are based on conversational searches as consumers are more comfortable using smart speakers to search. This means that voice-activated content, meaning query-based content, will become a key part of an effective content marketing strategy in 2021.
Diversification of content is key: Creation of podcasts, videos, infographics, blogpost, case studies, E-book, etc. It is very important to keep in mind: content marketing is not only about blogging.
Marketing automation is the process that companies use today to simplify and automate execution of digital marketing campaigns whether it is by email, social networks, mobile phones or digital guidelines to name a few channels.
This automation is carried out using specialized software, which tracks the behavior of visitors within the website.
Marketing automation is an ideal solution for B2B markets due to its longer sales cycles, much more complex decision-making, and multi-stage acquisition cycles. You can automate customer segmentation and tracking of campaigns and interactions, classify leads, and personalize the customer experience to encourage repeat business.
We got a great explanation on what marketing automation is from Wishpond's YouTube channel:
The website of companies offering B2B services should be much more informative and attractive in 2021. On search engines like Google, this information will be discoverable every time users search for it, since these queries are the first stages of search for potential customers.
This optimization includes: Off Page, On Page, images and videos that can appear in different search channels.
The user experience: Design Thinking is also key to having a leadership position in the minds of our users.
Local positioning is key, that is why the opening of the Google My Business profile is a very important point, this accompanied by a social media strategy and a correct configuration of the profile where potential B2B customers tend to search for references, information, interact with other takers decision, etc. In social networks like LinkedIn this plays a very relevant positioning.
Micro Moments is a term created by Google some years ago. A micro-moment occurs when a potential customer or user automatically turns to a device, most of the time a smartphone, to act on the need to learn something, do something, discover something, look at something or buy something.
These moments are important for B2B marketing strategies, as they are rich in information. They are key points in the buyer's journey when making decisions and setting preferences. To get the most out of a B2B strategy, it will be important to create content that satisfies the search for potential customers and to optimize our website so that its access speed is optimal.
The use of data analysis tools allows marketers and professionals to use data from their previous campaigns or behaviors from channels such as social media or the website, to reliably forecast possible trends and consumer behaviors in days, weeks or even years in the future.
Predictive models can help companies attract, retain, and nurture their most valuable customers. Additionally, marketing campaigns can be optimized using predictive analytics to generate more leads and conversions, as well as to promote cross-selling opportunities.
Within this world of data there are many terms unknown to most B2B companies, such as Big Data, data analysis, data mining, Power BI, dashboards, Data Collection, etc.
Therefore, in 2021, companies must have data scientists or data engineers on their teams.
82% of today's consumers expect an immediate response to sales or marketing questions. Especially potential customers in the B2B world since they are users with greater digital knowledge and with less waiting time. However, for many companies it is impossible (or at least impractical) to have an employee physically present to answer all the questions that can be asked in a digital interaction. Chatbots are an effective solution to meet this demand, as 40% of consumers do not care if a chatbot or a real human being helps them, if they get the help they need.
Chatbots are programmed to respond to users and can respond differently to messages based on the keywords the query contains. Some even use machine learning to adapt their answers and find the correct answer.
Another great help is Artificial Intelligence, with which you can enhance the learning of chatbots, automate PPC purchase auctions, Generate content through AI, personalize the user experience on websites, qualify leads, segment different channels and create custom audiences to name a few benefits of artificial intelligence.
As final thoughts, B2B marketing strategies should target data usage, artificial intelligence, content diversification, personalization, and content quality. But all this must be ensured by integrating the Marketing and Sales teams.