This year’s B2B Marketing Mix Report told us a lot about the challenges B2B marketing and sales professionals face and the strategies they use to engage potential buyers. If you’ve read the report, you already know the most popular marketing tactics to invest in and some of the plans your competitors are making for the year ahead.
It can be comforting to know that you and your peers are working toward similar goals and running into the same roadblocks, but your company should be the one to overcome those challenges – not struggle with them year after year. So let’s take a step back by reviewing some of the common scenarios that prevent B2B companies from achieving their goals.
Pick your top marketing objective from the four below (identified by marketers in the 2018 B2B Marketing Mix Report) to put a name to the bigger issue. Take the time to read each objective’s marketing horoscope to confront your biggest challenge and see success in the New Year.
1. Getting sales qualified leads (SQLs)
This is a top objective for sales professionals, of course, but know that it’s a red flag issue if your marketing team is shouldering the responsibility of obtaining SQLs in addition to marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Still, it’s often the case that the line between marketing and sales is blurred for B2B companies with shorter sales cycles. There are several problematic situations that could be happening if bringing in sales leads is your top marketing objective:
- Your company confuses the definitions for MQLs and SQLs
- Your company lacks clear definitions for MQLs and SQLs
- Your marketing and sales teams do not use lead scoring
- Your marketing and sales teams are not aligned
- Your lead generating responsibilities are incorrectly distributed
Your Horoscope for Marketing Success: To generate more sales qualified leads, you’ll need to make the stars align in your own way by having your marketing and sales teams meet to discuss definitions, roles and responsibilities when it comes to lead generation. How does each team factor into the buyer’s journey and who should execute certain tactics? You’ll also need to ensure you fully understand your audience by creating and continually updating buyer personas. You need to determine how everyone’s paths will connect to set things straight before continued confusion disrupts your marketing and sales processes altogether.
2. Converting leads into customers
Having issues sealing the deal once you’ve generated an SQL for the sales team? Marketing teams can give sales a boost by continually optimizing the buyer’s journey, but ultimately, an experienced sales team with exceptional people skills must follow through. Sales cycle maintenance, especially in B2B, is not a set-it-and-forget-it deal. If you’re having trouble converting leads, you could be having hang-ups in these areas:
- Referral marketing strategy
- Website content and user experience
- Brand personality and messaging
- Sales team skill, approach and pitch
- Content offers, consultations and follow-ups
Your Horoscope for Marketing Success: To convert more leads, envision the customer’s journey from the moment they become an MQL. Consider how a lead might experience a sales call with your company, how they would view your website or marketing materials, how they obtain more information about your company and what they think of your free content and brand personality. Polish your brand from every angle and consult your marketing and sales teams to get informed, actionable opinions about each touchpoint. Creating an impeccable, cohesive experience both online and offline will set your business apart from competitors and convince leads you have your act together.
3. Driving brand awareness
Do prospects recognize your company’s name, logo or colors at industry events? It’s never a good feeling when you find your brand unremarkable and unmemorable alongside industry competitors, especially when you know your products and people do it better. Brand awareness is extremely important for B2B companies because:
- It improves brand recognition, familiarity and trust
- It creates a loyal customer base and improves lead generation
- It contributes to brand differentiation and niche domination
- It increases opportunities for company connections and partnerships
- It encourages cohesion throughout brand messaging, personality and visuals
Your Horoscope for Marketing Success: Don’t leave this marketing objective up to fate. If you aim to dominate your industry or niche, put targeted effort into your brand awareness strategy. Reassess the tactics you’re using to spread the word about your brand, products and services and invest in the methods that will give you an extra boost: visual identity, public relations, SEO and SEM, influencer marketing, event marketing and social media. Put faces to your brand and offer an always-on, friendly experience for prospects and business connections alike so others associate your company with values that really resonate.
4. Increasing website traffic
Does your B2B company showcase products or services online or rely heavily on online sales? Website traffic is a vital KPI to watch, even for those who don’t explicitly share their offerings on the Internet, because it indicates consumer interest. If increasing website traffic is high on your 2018 agenda, you might be looking to:
- Increase online sales or encourage calls
- Offer gated content for lead generation
- Display company information and experience
- Share specific product or service details
Your Horoscope for Marketing Success: Increasing website traffic means improving your chances of obtaining new leads or upselling current customers. Make it easy for visitors to find what they need and leave with a clear picture of your business as an innovative and experienced prospective partner. Educate your marketing team on user experience (UX) or work with an agency to optimize your site’s content, navigation, performance and appearance. Long-term investments like SEO and content marketing are also excellent tools for gaining steady traffic and holding the attention of visitors. Whatever tactic you choose, see it through to experience big changes in your site’s performance.
Be sure to factor your company’s top marketing objective into your 2018 marketing plan by establishing a step-by-step path that your team can take over the course of the year to achieve it and keep improving.
Use Sagefrog’s helpful flow chart Pick Your Path: How to Achieve Your Top Marketing Objective for ideas on the steps to take for each of the top four marketing objectives of 2018. It also features interesting stats from this year’s B2B Marketing Mix Report that may change your mind about some marketing tactics and methodologies.
Are you interested in B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today!