How to Increase the success of your B2b sales and marketing approach
If you are a part of the sales world, you know that the sales cycle does not look anything like it did a few years ago. In our work at Gabriel Sales, a B2B outsourced sales company and B2B sales and marketing company, we have been closely following these changes in order to help our clients navigate the new sales landscape.
The first thing we have discovered is that in some instances, buyers are buying faster. Buyers now often make decisions immediately following their budget approval, shortening the decision process to less than 60 days in some cases.
However, while about 20% of buyers are now reaching out faster for smaller purchases, there are still buyers who prefer buying via more traditional buyer relationships. There are also buyers who are now spending more time in the research phase, preferring to explore all of their options thoroughly before making a decision.
What all of this comes down to is that buyers are no longer as predictable or homogenous as they once were. If your business is not able to adapt to the changing trends of the B2B sales industry, you stand to lose up to 10%-20% of your revenue to competitors who have adapted their process and techniques. In order to make sure you can sell to your customers regardless of how they prefer to buy, you need to have a strong content marketing program in place, strong inbound and strong cold calling. The rest of this blog will briefly discuss the best practices for meeting the demands of today’s B2B sales landscape.
Marketing Automation Implementation
Our experience as a B2B marketing and sales company tells us that using Marketing Automation Software is quite possibly the most effective thing a business can do to improve its sales and give them an advantage over their competitors. Marketing Automation can increase your B2B demand generation across different buying cycles.
This type of software permits marketers to generate, score and nurture leads in a new, more efficient way. For some smaller businesses, we have even been able to combine this software with some of our proprietary tools in a way that eliminates the need for marketing as a function. This allows you to give the demand generation tools to your sales reps in order to decrease cost and increase productivity.
We believe the main reason many B2B companies do not find success with this type of software is they do not allow the sales team to propel its implementation. These companies have not yet seen the value of incorporating a top salesperson’s process as a part of their overall demand generation process.
One of the biggest advantages of implementing marketing automation software is improved efficiency in terms of scoring leads. This allows your sales reps to concentrate their phone time on the most qualified leads. These marketing software tools have lead scoring and nurturing features that allow you to watch and score the way your prospects are interacting with your online content and follow-up emails. Once a lead has a score that suggests they are ready to buy, your lead generation reps can make that lead a priority. They can then contact these leads directly for final qualification steps to convert them to sales qualified leads.
Committed Demand Generation Team
We believe having a team dedicated to converting marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads is the key to success in terms of demand generation. Many companies try to have the sales team complete this task in order to shorten the cycle, but we have found this rarely achieves long-term success. While working this way may put you at an advantage with the 20% who now prefer to buy quickly, you lose all of the buyers who like to buy differently. Demand generation programs only work when the level of commitment from the demand generation team matches the capacity of the tools they are using.
If you would like to learn more about how sales outsourcing for B2B can help you align your inbound and outbound efforts for a fatter pipe and more closed revenue please feel free to CONTACT US for a free initial strategy conversation.
Landing page design is all the rage for B2B demand generation tactics in 2013. However, having glitzy graphics or a colorful layout will only get you so far. What we have seen in our work as a B2B demand generation and sales and marketing outsourcing company is that the content of the page is much more important than what it looks like.
This blog gives some simple tips on how to craft persuasive and successful landing pages. If this content is a little too basic for your needs we invite you to check out our B2B Demand Generation Blog Topic area or our B2B Demand Generation Knowledge Center.
Five tips for creating landing pages for B2B demand generation:
- One landing page is NOT enough—each product, service or campaign you have should have a landing page to match. Marketing automation tools like Pardot can simplify this process.
- Match the content to the keywords—the landing page should be directly related to the link your prospect clicked on to get there. Do not make your customers search for what they want.
- Make your goal obvious—decide what you want your potential customer to do on each landing page, and then make it easy for them to do so. The goal should almost always be B2B demand generation of sales qualified leads.
- Keep it simple and transparent—do not overwhelm your visitor with a lot of different options or complex language. For example, say something like, “If you fill out this form, then we will send you a white paper about a specific topic.”
- Use keywords for SEO—for search optimization, you cannot overuse keywords (the keyword for this page is B2B demand generation). Using the right keywords in the right places will result in an SEO lift for your entire site.
For more information on building effective landing pages or B2B demand generation tactics, please visit our blog titled “The Importance of Landing Pages” or contact Gabriel Sales directly. For a quick overview of how Gabriel Sales creates and integrated inbound and outbound machine CLICK HERE to view our How To Build a B2B demand generation engine. To schedule an appointment for a free pipeline velocity review from Gabriel Sales, please click here.
Many B2B companies try so hard to generate more leads that they do not come up with a clear strategy for how to do so most efficiently and effectively. What these companies do not understand is that a successful campaign requires clearly defined goals and a well-articulated strategy.
This blog is meant to educate those with less experience in B2B sales and marketing about the fundamentals of lead generation. Specifically, we will address the difference between soft vs. hard lead generation for B2B sales and when each is most appropriate to use.
(If you would like information with a little more depth, please visit our knowledge center focused on B2B Demand Generation.)
The first step in creating a strategy for B2B lead generation is to formulate your overall goals. You should ask the following questions:
• Who are you trying to target?
• What is the number of leads you want to generate?
• What do you want to achieve in terms of sales?
• Are you willing to pay for a lead? How much?
• Where do you want your leads to be in the sales cycle?
The answers to these questions become essential in determining which lead generation technique will be most effective for your business. Depending on what your goals are, you will usually choose either a soft or a hard lead generation strategy. Hard techniques usually generate a higher quality lead, while soft strategies tend to produce large numbers.
The soft offer:
Using an incentive with an apparently low risk factor, soft strategies will give you huge numbers of leads. For example, if you offer free tickets to the World Series, you are likely to get a massive number of responses. The downside of the soft lead, however, is that most of these respondents are more excited about baseball than learning about your business. So, while the soft lead may give you the numbers you want, most leads generated in this way do not progress any further in the sales cycle.
However, in our experience as an outsourced sales and marketing company, we have found that offering an iPad or a gift card can be quite effective, especially in terms of generating a quick opt-in database. We have also seen that the soft lead generation strategy is most effective for businesses trying to target leads early in their sales cycle. This method will take much more time because of having to sift through large numbers and so should be used primarily when attempting to generate activity or jump-start your sales.
The hard offer:
In a hard lead generation strategy, you offer something that is relatively higher risk than free tickets or an iPad. When you make this type of offer, which may require some type of commitment from your prospect, the leads you generate are usually going to be much further along in their sales cycle. Some things you can use as hard offer incentives are free consultations, preliminary audits, invites to webinars, etc.
When engaging with these types of leads, you should be aware they have a much greater chance of becoming closed deals. We have found that a hard lead generation method is most effective for businesses that have little time to weed through huge numbers of leads and are therefore looking to talk to leads much closer to making a purchase.
If you are still having trouble deciding between soft vs. hard lead generation for B2B sales, a good place to start is deciding who you are trying to target. If your goal is to reach marketing teams, a soft offer may be the most appropriate. On the other hand, if you are looking to speak to buying executives, you may want to go with the hard offer. Once you decide the kind of lead you desire and determine what will be of value to them, you will be able to come up with a successful strategy for generating leads.
Gabriel Sales has over 12 years of experience as an outsourced B2B lead generation company. For more sales basics, please feel free to visit our Blogs on Sales and Content Basics.
Creating successful B2B marketing videos is not like creating a Hollywood blockbuster. The best technical production in the world will not get you anywhere if your content is irrelevant. They key to digital marketing with videos is to provide your customer with something they actually want to watch.
Here are some ideas for the types of content you can put in your B2B marketing videos:
- Repurposed television commercials
- In-depth discussions about specific products or services
- Post-purchase information
- Case Studies
We have found the most effective videos for B2B sales to fit into one or more of the three following categories:
- Many B2B blogs are centered around giving your reader some type of information. What type of information you give and how you present it can vary, as long as it remains relevant to your reader. Some companies chose a more news-based format, with a prominent employee talking about industry related happenings. Others instead give in-depth discussions of the company or a specific product or service. The most important thing to remember with informative videos is that they must have content your reader wants.
- An educational video should aim to be instructive or to teach something to your viewer. Rather than giving out general industry information, you should teach your viewer in a ‘how to’ type format. Show your viewer, in a step-by-step style, how to do something that is relevant and helpful to them. This format is most useful when showing your customer how to use your product or service.
- While people are willing to be informed and educated about your company, they would much rather be entertained. This is why entertaining videos are usually the most viewed and are the most likely to go viral. However, what is entertaining to people is not easy to gauge. One person may be rolling on the floor laughing over what another finds offensive. While it is much easier to simply inform or educate, if you can successfully entertain, you will grab many more eyes.
What is common among these three formats is that each gives the viewer something they want. Your video should provide something of value to them because if it does not, what reason does your viewer have to watch or share what you have given them?
Once you have crafted your video using one or more of the above formats, you should download it to YouTube. You can create a channel on YouTube for your company, so that all of your videos are aggregated in one place and are easy to find. While there are other video sites you can use, YouTube will get you more views and visibility than any of them.
For more information on B2B marketing videos, please reach out to us at Gabriel Sales. You can find our contact information here.