Having integrated and managed multiple marketing automation software solutions, the following features were not part of any of them.
1) Generate a prospect list report with last email correspondence topic and date.
I want to know when people were last contacted to make sure everyone is getting nurtured appropriately, and no one has fallen out of drip program cycles unnecessarily.
Feature Note: The ability to select prospects by last correspondence date and select a next action, e.g. send an email, would be extremely useful.
2) Profile and score prospects via social channels that are not opted into my database, yet.
If I can connect with someone directly outside of my marketing automation database, I should be able to get a gauge whether he/she is a potential customer for my business without needing him/her to be cookied on my particular site.
Feature Note: A database within the marketing automation software of all social connections/fans of multiple social pages and company representatives would be a revolutionary addition.
3) A recommended call-to-action engine based on matching the following: 1) a registered database of my content (that my marketing automation software understands the contents of) 2) content consumption patterns by my prospects.
When viewing a prospect, I’d like my marketing automation software to prompt me for some recommended actions/next-steps to take for that particular prospect, e.g. finding an interest pattern and prompting me to send a piece of related content they he/she has not yet consumed.
Feature Note: Having a one-click “Execute this Action” button would be supreme for this feature.
4) ‘Emails sent’ check and suppress/delay automation.
The ability to suppress or delay emails would be helpful in not overbearing prospects with too many emails.
Feature Note: The ability to override the delay/suppress should be available in case a critical announcement needs to be sent.
For more on marketing automation, you can find more educational blog articles here. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
While we were unable to attend Dreamforce this year, we’ve been keeping an eye on the amazing presentations coming out of the event from industry experts. One of the most interesting insights we’ve seen so far came from Marcus Nelson of Addvocate, who discussed how to effectively promote your content.
He began his presentation with these three statistics:
- 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know
- 70% trust consumer opinions posted online
- 14% trust advertising
To us, Nelson’s numbers show that regardless of new technologies and marketing platforms, people and relationships are still at the heart of selling.
So, what does this mean for promoting your content? It means you need other people than you to sing your praises in digital form. Nelson suggested that companies need to start taking advantage of an underused resource—employees. He explained that in a new Edelman Trust Barometer report, it was found that the average employee is trusted two times more than a C-level executive. By having your employees actively promoting your content as individuals, they can engage in authentic conversations with your prospects that will build trust without exhausting your financial resources.
Nelson and many other presentations at Dreamforce also give evidence for the growing importance of social proof—defined by Wikipedia as a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. In terms of sales and marketing, this basically means that when people are unsure of what to do in a purchasing situation, they look to others who have been in the same situation and imitate their behavior.
Understanding how social proof works and using it to your advantage is a skill we believe will grow in value in 2014. Tactically speaking, the digital consumer looks for social proof in customer testimonials, social media and other third-party resources, so making sure there are positive and accurate reflections of your company in these places is key to making social proof work for you.
For more tips on how to succeed in the coming year, read 2014 B2B Sales and Marketing Trends. Pease feel free to contact us with any questions.
This is part-two of a blog series on five things you may be doing that hurt your B2B content marketing conversion rates. Click here for part one.
3. You aren’t offering multiple options for consumption.
In the past decade or so, the traditional mode of selling and buying was flipped on its head and now, buyers hold all the power when it comes to the game of sales. Because buyers now hold the keys in terms of when to view marketing material, how long to view and how to respond, you need to offer them as many options as possible to get them to convert.
For example, let’s say you send out an email with a link for a YouTube video attached. Now, if your prospect is on their mobile device and is taking the subway home, they may have the desire to interact with your content but don’t want to disturb the people around them by playing a loud video. By including a transcript of the video or a slide share presentation with notes attached, you can ensure that regardless of your prospects’ individual situations and preferences, you are offering relevant content they will want to engage with.
4. You aren’t telling people what you want them to do.
It is not likely that your prospects are going to convert if you don’t make it clear and easy for them to do so. Marketing content should always contain a call to action; the action itself can vary, but it should always be obvious to your viewer.
To increase conversion rates, you can use your call to action to help guide your prospect through their buying cycle by leading them from one piece of content to the next. For example, after an educational blog post, invite people to ‘learn more’ by watching your company overview video. Then, on the video page, invite prospects to ‘sign up for a custom demo’. When used in this way, calls to action are about more than just getting a prospect to click on something; they are about helping guide your prospects through their buying journey.
5. You aren’t tailoring your content for different audience segments.
Market segmentation is not a new concept anymore, so if you aren’t segmenting your content in some way at this point, you’re behind. By breaking apart your audience into different segments based on various demographic factors (title, geography, company size, department, etc.), you are able to then tailor the messaging of your content to match the different pains, needs and goals each segment may have.
Segmenting your content successfully requires in-depth knowledge of your customer base. The B2B sale now often involves multiple decision-makers and stakeholders (IT, HR, marketing, etc.), all of whom bring a different perspective to the table. By offering marketing content appropriate for each of those perspectives, you show your prospects you have taken the time to truly understand their needs and goals, which will help you earn their trust.
To learn more about B2B content marketing, you can read another educational blog post here. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
In the past few years, many B2B companies have started blogs and YouTube channels, joined social media networks, started hosting webinars and more—having been told that putting digital content out into the world would translate to increased revenue.
For most companies, B2B content marketing has now become an integral part of their overall marketing program. In terms of lead generation, nurturing and relationship building, content marketing has seen tremendous success. However, we believe content marketing is successful only if it leads to an impact on sales. At the end of the day, if your content isn’t converting prospects into leads or customers, it isn’t doing its job.
In order to help you create more effective and engaging B2B marketing content, here are five things you may be doing that hurt your conversion rates:
1. You aren’t thinking about content creation strategically.
You might have the ability to produce quality content. That quality content might even be read frequently. However, if that content isn’t backed by a strategy to guide prospects from one stage of the sales cycle to the next, it won’t help you convert leads.
In order for B2B marketing content to be useful for conversion, you need to map out the stages of your buyer’s buying cycle and then develop different pieces of content to match each stage. The purpose of this is to allow you buyer to take themselves through their buying cycle on their own. This means you need basic level, purely educational blog posts to help with discovery as well as highly technical product/software demos to encourage the close—and everything in between. By thinking strategically about content creation, you ensure that every piece of content you create has a purpose and end goal in mind, leading to dramatically increased conversion.
2. You aren’t talking in specifics.
A lot of B2B content marketing gets ignored because it doesn’t really say much. Everyone can say their solution “increases ROI” or “cuts expenses”, but that doesn’t actually tell your prospects anything about how you are different than your competitors. By avoiding specifics in your marketing content, your prospects are left wondering, “OK, but how does that work exactly?” or worse, “Does this person even know what they are talking about?”
While you don’t want to be overly technical and talk over the heads of your prospects, you do want your content to convince them of your expertise. By going into specific details when appropriate (i.e. when you are explaining your value proposition), your prospects feel like they are educated enough to make an informed purchase decision.
To continue reading, click here.
In a previous blog post, we discussed that while many B2B companies think of holidays or vacation times as a negative thing, we believe you can use them to your advantage. This is especially true of the winter holiday season, when many companies choose to slow down on sales and marketing efforts until the new year. Instead, we recommend not slowing down your B2B marketing during the holidays.
Here are three reasons to keep up with your marketing efforts this holiday season:
1. Leverage an opportunity to take advantage of leftover budget.
Many B2B companies see the end of the year as a dead time—thinking that everyone is on vacation, people are too consumed with the holidays to think about business, etc. While it is true that more people will be on vacation during this time, it is also true that those who are stuck at the office may be tasked with figuring out what to do with the rest of this year’s budget. If your end-of-the-year email is in their inbox reminding them of the value you could bring to their company, you could be the one that gets that budget.
2. Get people on the phone when they are less busy.
Along the same lines, many companies slow down their cold calling/telemarketing efforts during the holidays, assuming that no one will be in the office to answer the phone. It is true that your call to connect ratio may go down this time of year, but those who do pick up will be less busy and will have more time to talk with you. Some executives actually work through the holiday season, and this may be the opportune time to get them on the phone—when they have less internal issues to deal with.
3. Inaction can lead to a decline in Q1 sales.
Especially in the B2B space, conversion can take a while—for 2/3 of B2B companies, conversion takes three months or longer. This means that dropping off your marketing efforts during Q4 may translate to a drop off in Q1 sales. In terms of both lead generation and lead nurturing, the holidays are a great time to get an edge on the competition who may not be marketing at this time. In addition, many of your prospects are planning for the new year in November and December. If you stay on top of your marketing during this time, hiring you might become a part of their 2014 plan.
For tips on how to succeed in B2B sales and marketing in 2014, click here. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.