B2B companies today know they need content. This is very clear by the fact that thousands of B2B blogs and videos are now posted every week. But how do you get it to actually do the things you want it to (e.g. generate leads, increase brand awareness, motivate a transaction, etc.)?
Here are 5 steps to B2B content engagement success:
1. Start with your audience
If you start by asking yourself, “What kind of content do I want to make today?” you’re doing it wrong. The first question should be, “What type of content does my specific audience want to engage in?”
For example, do your prospects like quick and fun blog posts or in-depth, technical white papers? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it is pretty easy to do some research, and find out what your competitors are doing. You can also directly ask your prospects what type of content would be helpful to them, which can help you to prove your value during the sales process.
2. Tell a story
Incorporating storytelling into your B2B marketing content seems to be one of the big marketing trends of 2014, and for good reason. Adding storytelling elements to your content helps improve engagement by making your content easier to read and increasing the probability that prospects will retain your message.
By using a ‘beginning, middle, end’ structure, prospects can more easily follow the flow of your content as you present your argument, statistics or other information. Messages with stories also are remembered much better over time and “according to Uri Hasson from Princeton, a story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.”
Looking to launch B2B sales marketing? Here are your options…
Most companies today have realized that the b2b sales marketing strategies and tactics that worked 10—or even 5—years ago do not work anymore. Marketing no longer revolves around positioning and impressions, and sales is more than endless cold calls and aggressive sales pitches.
B2B sales and marketing today is about having the ability to integrate your sales and marketing processes with digital tools and technologies to simultaneously improve effectiveness and increase efficiency. For B2B companies who have not yet gone through this integration, the process can be overwhelming and time consuming. For many companies, it can take over a year to implement and see results from a marketing automation platform.
In order to streamline these processes and handle the added complexity that comes with B2B sales today, many companies are currently looking to external resources. Companies have several options when it comes to outside sales and marketing resources, and the rest of this blog will look at the pros and cons of using freelancers for B2B sales marketing.
When Freelancers Work
- You have a specific, one-time project or issue.
- Hiring a freelancer can work when you have something that needs to be done that has a clear beginning and end (e.g. a website redesign or marketing brochure).
- You have a clearly defined gap that needs to be filled.
- A freelancer can be a fit when all of the other puzzle places are already in place. For example, you may have all the marketing technology you need running smoothly, but cannot keep up with the constant demands for content.
- You have project management processes and quality assurance standards in place internally.
- Because freelancers, by definition, are not your internal employees, they do not know how you work and what your standards for quality are. In order to get quality work on time, you need to have clearly defined processes and standards in place for freelancers to adhere to.
When Freelancers Don’t Work
- You are starting from scratch
- If you have yet to enter the world of content marketing, social media, customer relationship management and marketing automation, hiring a single freelancer is not going to get you where you need to be.
- The issues you are trying to solve involve different skill sets
- If the help you need involves both content creation and technology integration, you need an outsourced sales and marketing team, not a freelancer. Freelancers typically have very specialized expertise and cannot wear all the hats needed to set up and run a fully integrated sales and marketing program.
- You need help with strategy in addition to execution
- If you have a strategy and plan in place, it is relatively easy to plug freelancers into it. If you have yet to create a sales and marketing strategy, it is likely you need a more comprehensive solution before you will be able to execute successfully.
To learn more about the option of outsourcing your B2B sales marketing, read 5 Ways an Outsourced Sales Team Can Help Your Marketing Team. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
In recent years, web technologies and digital sales tools have dramatically impacted the way people buy and sell. While many of these technology-related solutions have allowed companies to increase efficiency and improve targeting, they can also seem a bit dehumanizing for your prospects who can tell that machines are interacting with them—not people.
In order to retain the efficiency improvements these digital marketing technologies like marketing automation offer while not seeming like a robot to your prospects, here are three ways to make your marketing automation seem more human:
1. Program follow-up emails to go out at the right time.
Consumers today are now getting used to auto-responder emails, which can sometimes come across impersonal and uncaring. While the argument over the ‘best’ time to send a follow up email will probably never end, you can at least set up your emails to make it seem like a human is sending them. By setting up a follow up email to go out 15 minutes after a link was clicked or request for information was made (instead of 1 second after), you can least seem like you took the time to write out a personal email.
2. Schedule social posts for appropriate times of day for your business.
A lot of B2B companies are using marketing automation platforms or other digital marketing tools to schedule and automate posts on various social media platforms. This is a great practice, as you are able to schedule posts in large chunks rather than having to remember to do it throughout the day/week. However, B2B companies should be careful to watch when they are scheduling posts; it doesn’t make sense for a company selling project management software to be tweeting at two in the morning. B2C companies and global brands can get away with this; but for B2B companies to seem more human, they should generally keep their posts within normal business hours.
3. Respond to followers, friends, fans and other commenters.
While scheduling your social media posts is a great practice, not responding to those who engage with your posts will definitely make you seem like a robot (or just plain rude). Even though you have set up your social posts to run on their own, you should check your social platforms every so often to see who has engaged with you, and respond accordingly.
For more on B2B marketing automation, read 3 Things B2B Marketers Should Always Automate. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
In the first blog of this two part series, we learned that aiming to impress is not the most effective approach. In part #2 we will talk about aiming to empower.
The reason your prospect has shown up for your meeting is not to be impressed; it is to be empowered to solve their problem. Unfortunately, this is not how most salespeople sell. Most end up product dumping, talking way too much and not spending enough time probing, discovering and selling based on the customers responses and needs.
Features and benefits should be a part of your presentation, but they need to be tied to the idea of solving a specific problem raised by your prospect. Otherwise, you may spend a significant amount of time on irrelevant topics and features. You may even hit the right feature and benefit, but without knowing how it relates back to you prospect, you may totally miss why it matters to them.
The reasons you think your product is cool may not even register at all with your prospect and vice versa.
When buying a car, you aren’t sold until you’ve driven the car. Most people decide to purchase a car during the test drive because they are taking actions aimed at solving their own problems and envisioning themselves behind the wheel.
In your B2B sales meetings, giving your prospect the keys and the power to solve their problem is equivalent to:
- Allowing him/her to share the problem
- Encouraging dialogue
- Asking open-ended questions
- Relating the benefits back to his/her pain
- Allowing your solution to show how he/she can specifically ease that pain
Just let them be sold on their solved problems. Stop Talking. Ask a question. Listen. Tie everything back to the reason they showed up in the first place. If they haven’t mentioned interest in a particular feature, rethink whether it’s even worth mentioning. Wow them by giving them solutions—not another sales presentation.
By attempting to empower your prospects rather than impress them during your sales meetings, the sale becomes significantly easier and less stressful for everyone involved.
Learn more in this blog called The #1 Mistake Salesmen Make. You can learn more about the services we offer as a B2B sales outsourcing company here. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
When presenting your product or solution, it is often the approach to attempt to impress your prospect with every feature and benefit, rave about personal accomplishments and achievements or your software’s bells and whistles.
From our experience as a B2B sales outsourcing company, we have seen that this is not the most effective approach to closing deals. What is often missed and lost is that your prospect set aside time, has most likely read and digested some of your content and has now actually shown up to your meeting. A great deal of the battle has already been won.
This is now the time that your prospect is willing to open up, if you let them (most don’t). Trying to get someone to open up on a cold call is the total opposite: they don’t know who you are, why you called, what the call is about—and you most likely interrupted their day.
But, if you have your prospect in a sales meeting, you are past that point. Take advantage of the fact that you have the prospect all to yourself with little to no distractions. Don’t feature dump or sell on every benefit; if that is all your prospect wants, they can usually get this information on their own.
Your product or solution will also most likely be vetted by a technical person, so save the technical selling for him; he likes it. Business buyers want problems solved, and ROI helps them see it. You will get the next step if you’re a fit.
To get your prospects talking in a sales meeting, you don’t need any secret sales questions. Just ask them to recap why they agreed to meet and explain their situation and what they might be looking for. In doing this, they will tell you their pain that is why they are talking to you—not because you are such a great salesperson, or your product is wicked cool. Despite what we think, people really don’t want to talk to us (sales).
People only want to talk to sales when they think you can help solve a problem. That is where the focus needs to be, solving the prospect’s problem, not yours (more sales).
It transfers through the phone when you are self-serving. When the majority of what you do is talking, you lose. When you are listening and taking notes the majority of time, you’re winning.