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Strategy and Results

Join us for actionable business-to-business insight that will help you get B2B sales and marketing results. You will find many valuable ideas here across a broad spectrum of B2B marketing topics and issues.

 

What Types of Content Propels B2B Buyers

B2B Content MatrixI recently enjoyed an article titled, “Which Types of Content do B2B Tech Buyers Respond to Most?” The article is worthwhile because it provides a picture of how B2B buyers are now accepting and utilizing content as part of their buying journey. As the article so rightly points out, it’s not how much of it you produce that matters – it’s what you produce.

One of the key things to creating content that works is to marry the appropriate content with the right stage of the sales process. Note that the content and the way you present the content are not the same thing. For example, if you are a CRM vendor, a webinar aimed at people in the early stages (creating awareness) might be something like, The 10 Most Important Benefits of Using a CRM Solution. But if you are aiming a webinar at the needs of prospects who have already engaged with you, the title might be something like, 12 Tips for Fast Implementation of the XYZ CRM Solution. This is the same content tool (webinar) deployed in a completely different way to facilitate sales.

At Fusion Marketing Partners, we use a document called a Content Marketing Matrix to specify what content needs to be delivered at each part of the sales cycle: awareness, consideration, decision and retention. We spend a lot of time on this document because it is a guide to future content creation activities. We are not endlessly debating the merits of particular B2B content asset – we make a holistic plan and stick to it.  By the way, you can view an example of the Content Matrix here.

The entire point of creating content is to make it easy for B2B buyers to buy from you, not your competitor. Speaking of which, you should visit your top three competitors’ websites to see what type of B2B content they are providing that you are not. If you find content items that you believe could make prospects choose your competitor over you, please get to work and fix this. You’re likely to be amazed at how many prospects go to your website looking for a particular type of content, and if they can’t find it, leave as quickly as they came. However, if you can expose them to high-quality content options that they will be willing to trade their name and email address for, you have created a conversion and an opportunity to turn that visitor into a customer.

As shown below, the recent Eccolo Media B2B Technology Content Survey Report lists the content that was consumed by prospects as part of their B2B buying experience. Keep in mind that it is not an apples-to-apples comparison because — while the vast majority of B2B companies offer content like white papers, data sheets and emails (by the ton!) — a much smaller percentage offer items like podcasts or infographics. Our experience and client data show that these less-used tools can have an over-sized impact on results.

B2B Content Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One other key point about B2B content: Please let go of the perfectionist tendencies. The marketplace rewards action, not contemplation, and it is vital that you get lots of good stuff out, not that you get just a little perfect stuff out. Plus, what is perfect, anyway? Even if you believe your latest whitepaper is the Mona Lisa of content, this does not mean the reader will necessarily accept it that way. Remember, you are writing for the target audience, not yourself, and there are no gold stars or A+ grades to be earned. Instead, if you give potential B2B buyers plenty of good quality content, you will earn something more valuable – their purchase orders!

The Evolving Journey of the B2B Buyer

Purchase orderDaniel Heimlich posted the following photo on his LinkedIn page. Not sure who the conference speaker was, but the five statistics represented on this slide — from well-respected organizations like Forrester Research, IDC and Harvard Business Review — are a good representation of how B2B prospects are behaving on their “buying journey.” I’ve seen many of the statistics (or close approximations) individually, but not in one spot like this.

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Marketing Technology – Your Best Friend or Nightmare?

Technology NightmareOne of the most important enablers of an effective lead-to-revenue framework is marketing technology, which, combined with CRM and a great website, gives you a powerful platform for growing profitable revenue (always the best kind of revenue). And the good news is that there is a proliferation of solutions available, driven by the need for better planning, execution and tracking. But this can also be a bit of bad news because too many choices can lead to confusion and inaction. Worst of all, it can lead to the digital version of what we used to call “shelfware”; software that was purchased but unused (sitting on a shelf).

The following graphic illustrates the problem.

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Why You Need to Pay Attention to Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing

As a B2B or B2C marketer, one of the best ways you can support your company’s sales team and revenue targets is to become better at search engine marketing (SEM), which is sometimes referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). SEM/SEO is a great way to boost your marketing performance in the new year. Best of all, you can accomplish this at a relatively low cost when compared to other marketing tactics.

Many companies suffer from a lack of leads and revenue because they pay no attention to SEM. I’ve actually had a CEO of a potential client tell me that they had no desire for people to find their website since they had already identified the vast majority of their prospects and it was the job of the sales team, not the website, to turn these prospects into customers.

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B2B Sales and Marketing Trends for 2016

Marketing and Sales TrendsAt the end of each year, my team and I publish a report on the major B2B marketing and sales trends. The idea is not to show how smart we are but rather to provide ideas you can start using immediately to grow your business. Feel free to download the full report.

Trend 1 – Importance of Digital Reputation. B2B prospects spend lots of time searching online before engaging with a potential vendor and if the experience isn’t right, they will leave quickly. On the internal website side, you should have a website that is clean, professional and easily navigable. Externally, you need to find every site that a potential purchaser could use to learn about you or your business category, and make sure your presence there leaves a good impression. Content should be fresh and relevant and tightly related to your core value proposition.

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Entrepreneur or Not – You Need to Read This

Entrepreneur

If you are a corporate wage earner — as I was for much of my working life — you may decline to read this post because of the term “entrepreneur” in the title. However, I assure you that — regardless of how you make your living — it does have relevance and can provide food for thought.

I had the pleasure of attending a 90-minute talk by Gary Schoeniger on the topic of Redefining Entrepreneurship.

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The Tao of B2B Buying Behavior – Why Emotion Trumps Logic

B2B Buying Cycle Emotion

I’ve always wanted to use the word “Tao” in a blog post because the term has such profound (albeit esoteric) implications. Browse Amazon’s selection and you’ll see many offerings, including the Tao of Leadership, Physics, Dating and Pooh. According to Wikipedia, Tao or Dao is a Chinese concept signifying “way,” “path,” “route,” or sometimes more loosely, “doctrine” or “principle.” This is relevant because as a B2B marketing and sales practitioner, I want to know everything I can about the “path” buyers take on their purchase journey.

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Time – Your Most Valuable Marketing and Sales Asset

Time DeadlineNot sure about you, but I am at a place in my life where I would choose more time over more money. The list of things to do grows longer and the time seems to pass more quickly. And while many marketing and sales managers wish for bigger budgets, sometimes what we really need is better allocation of our time. Here are a few characteristics about time

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Marketing Specialist or Generalist – Which do You Need?

One of my favorite business writers, Bob Bly, published an intriguing article in an October, 2015 newsletter on the topic of whether a marketing generalist or specialist is preferable. Bly opened his article as follows:

Robert Heinlein, the great science fiction writer, despised the idea of specialization. “Specialization is for insects,” wrote Heinlein. “A human being should be able to

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The Importance of Processes in Effective Lead-to-Revenue

Process OptimizationComponent 3 in our recent eBook The Essential Guide to Building Your Lead-to-Revenue Machine is optimized marketing and sales processes. You can read lots of articles and white papers about the various technology options – CRM, marketing automation, sales enablement etc., but in my experience, unless you get the processes right,  even the best people and technology will just help you fail faster and more expensively.

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