B2B Marketing Tricks & Treats

For a lot of us at Gabriel Sales, Halloween is our favorite holiday. Most of us are dressed up in the office today, so we decided to try to bring some Halloween fun to the world of B2B sales and marketing.

Here is how we see the B2B marketing experience as it relates to Halloween:

b2b sales halloween1.  Content=Candy

Everyone loves getting things given to them, but free things can always be more or less awesome. We all remember what house gave out huge Hershey’s bars and what one gave out dental floss. If you don’t want your company to be like the house that everyone avoids, make sure the content you provide your prospects with is king size.

Pumpkins2.  Lights off=No (Foot) Traffic

This one is a no brainer. If you don’t have your content on active websites, blogs and social media channels, you will have zero trick-or-treaters.

3.  Candy Bowl Outside=Anonymous Visits

Both Halloween and B2B marketing are about interaction, and the first requirement for interacting is showing up. If you just leave a bowl of candy with a “please take ONE” note, you have no way of knowing who is coming to your house and what they are doing while there. This is like having no analytics or marketing automation tool on the backend of your content marketing program. How do you know whether a group of teenagers took the entire bowl or honest children took just one each?

halloween b2b sales tips4.  Decorated House=Good Visitor Experience

People remember good experiences and will come back to have them again and again. If your house is covered in elaborate carved pumpkins and statues of ghouls and goblins, your trick-or-treaters will remember and are likely to come back next year. Similarly, if you put a lot of extra time into making your website design a great experience for your prospects, they are more likely to come back and convert.

5.  In Costume=Relate to Visitor to Build Trust

As a trick-or-treater, it is always more fun to go to a house where the person who opens the door is in costume. It shows that person understands what Halloween is all about, which creates an immediate connection. In B2B sales, the more you can do to make your prospects feel understood, the more they will want to interact with you in the future.

We hope you enjoyed our festive B2B sales tips and wish you all have a very Happy Halloween!

2014 B2B Sales and Marketing Trends

2014 sales and marketing trendsAs a B2B sales and marketing outsourcing company, we are always paying attention to the current state of the industry and where things are going. In terms of both overall trends and specific tactics, we like to believe we have our finger on the pulse of what’s hot in B2B sales and marketing.

Derived from our own research as well as what is currently working for our clients, here are a few blog articles discussing the 2014 B2B sales and marketing trends and tips you need to know to thrive next year:

The Shift to Bought then, Sold

If your team is accountable for growth, your challenges remain the same: set strategy, generate qualified leads, develop and close—with constant pressure to control your cost of sale. But in today’s digital landscape, your buyers are becoming more self-directed. They want to buy on their own time and expect to be educated digitally.

Click here to continue reading, “The Shift to Bought then, Sold”.

Buyer Personas

As the buying process changed with the introduction of web-based technologies, buyers changed too.  Buyers adapted new traits and behaviors conducive to the new digital space they occupy. By understanding these new traits or characteristics and incorporating these insights into your sales strategies, you can make better connections, earn more trust and ultimately, close more deals.

Click here to continue reading, “Buyer Personas: The 6 Types of B2B Buyers on the Internet”.

The Future of SEO

SEO as a topic is hotter than ever with Google’s updated overhaul of its search algorithm (see Google’s Hummingbird for more details) as well as Google’s announcement of encrypting all natural search data (search the dreaded “not provided”). So, as a marketing firm that uses B2B SEO to help businesses attract leads, what are we recommending now that these changes are in place?

Click here to continue reading, “What’s Working Now in B2B SEO”.

To learn more about the recent changes in the world of B2B and how to adapt, you can download our white paper called, New Rules for Buying & Selling. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Underused B2B Lead Nurturing Tactics

b2b lead nurturing tacticsThe following 7 underused B2B lead nurturing tactics are key areas where you can outwit your competition when nurturing leads (that your competitors are quite likely also nurturing). Don’t think you’re the only one a lead is talking to – even if you offer/service/product is the best in your industry – leads are going to leverage the angle of “talking to someone else, too”. So implement these following tactics to stay steps ahead of your competition while giving leads the best possible experience:

  • Map your content to different stages in the buying cycle so that you know when to deliver content based on your lead’s activities.
  • Analyze customers who you’ve recently transacted with and create a flowchart of how they moved through your content from initial interaction to purchase.
  • Repurpose your content across various channels of consumption so your messaging is 1) consistent and 2) used to nurture your existing leads.
  • Use remarketing to continually reach leads who have already visited your site.
  • Test your first touch messaging (post-call follow-up emails, form auto-responders, etc.) to make sure that you are making the best first impression possible.
  • Stay consistent with repetitive content offers e.g. your newsletter. Leads, if they are finding your content useful, will grow to expect things being delivered as promised, like a monthly newsletter or weekly video series – don’t disappoint.
  • Don’t end a fresh lead’s visit prematurely. Make it easy after a new lead has transacted with your website (e.g. completed a form to request your whitepaper) to continue to consume your additional valuable content by sharing these resources on the conversion page/auto-responders. Or, leverage the newfound trust with an incentivized invite to connect on your primary social channels.

If you have any questions on lead nurturing, please feel free to contact us.

3 Marketing Automation Tips to Increase Effectiveness

marketing automation effectivenessWhen people talk about marketing automation, they often compare it to a magic diet pill that will solve all of your problems. As marketing automation experts, we know that marketing automation can truly revolutionize your sales and marketing efforts, but that does not mean that there is no work involved. There are several basic things you should do make sure you are getting the most ROI for your marketing automation platform. Here are three tips to increase efficiency and effectiveness:

1.  Explore options and configure tools.

A lot of companies don’t get the most out their marketing automation software because they do not understand all of its features and capabilities. By exploring all of your options, you will often find hidden gems (like ‘Prospect Audits and ‘System Emails’) that end up bring a huge amount of value. You can also increase the efficiency of your marketing automation platform by all configuring connectors, add-ons and social and search marketing settings that are relevant to you.

2.  Setup real time alerts and set calls to action in the subject line of notifications.

One of the most valuable aspects of a marketing automation solution is the notifications feature. You can set up your platform to alert you each time a certain action is taken (i.e. a prospect filling out a form) by sending you an email. It is a good idea to put a call to action in the subject line (“CALL NOW!”) of the email to help alert you to the level importance.

3.  Keep up with changes and training.

Just like the world of marketing, the world of marketing automation is constantly going through adaptations, upgrades and other changes. Because of this, it is a good idea to do weekly or monthly audits of your marketing automation platform of rules, dynamic segments and other automated tasks to make sure they are still necessary and are still actively working for your campaigns. You can also increase the efficiency of your marketing automation by improving the level of training of the people who use it. Most marketing automation companies have offer webinars, tutorials or training sessions to help marketers and sales people get the most out of the technology.

With regular audits, training and updates, the value of marketing automation can and should increase. To read more about marketing automation, click here. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

The Shift to “Bought then, Sold”

b2b buying process has changedThis blog discusses the new challenges in sales, how the B2B buying process has changed, and how to adapt to the concept of “bought then, sold“.

If your team is accountable for growth, your challenges remain the same: set strategy, generate qualified leads, develop and close—with constant pressure to control your cost of sale. But in today’s digital landscape, your buyers are becoming more self-directed. They want to buy on their own time and expect to be educated digitally. Only once they feel educated on the concept of “bought then, sold” they are ready to be engaged by a sales rep.

In addition, over the past four years, call-to-connect ratios have plummeted, so inside reps are half as effective. Cold calling can still work in some scenarios, but it is more expensive. Trade show costs are also increasing, which is reflected in the rising cost per lead. Finally, email marketing is also more competitive with decreasing ROI.

Today, none of these tactics work in isolation unless (according to the top marketers in the US), you support your pipeline development with inside sales and a commitment to content marketing, SEO and social media—with the top 10% of marketers implementing marketing automation. This is because your buyers are now relying on digital education to help them understand their needs and sort through their options.

More and more products today are “bought then, sold,” and this buying process affects your sales process in one of two ways. Either, buyers take longer to educate themselves digitally, so you need to nurture leads longer. Or, the opposite happens, and your buyer does not even want to speak to a sales rep until feel well educated and are near a buying decision.

Statistics show that 80% of leads are passed to a senior sales rep too early, and 70% of mishandled leads end up buying from a competitor. So, the biggest mistake you can make is to try and close before your buyers is ready to buy. This will drive away your buyer and squander your existing lead generation budget.

The new rules of buying and selling mean you need to:

  • Create relevant buyer content for both sales and marketing
  • Score leads to get buyers to closers at the right time
  • Nurture leads longer, at a lower cost
  • Push content across all formats into social media

With a commitment to this type of alignment, you can expect substantial revenue (157% growth) at a decreased cost of sale within 18 months to pull away from the competition.

For a more detailed discussion of this topic of “bought then, sold” or to learn how we can help, watch this quick overview video.