How to Make Them Work for You
The beginning of the year is a time ripe for reflections and projections. We look back on what we’ve done in the past, and use those lessons learned to look for ways to change and improve, to avoid previous failures, and replicate or ensure successes.
When it comes to identifying the best tactics for driving new business leads, this sort of regular evaluation and forward-thinking is especially crucial, given the B2B sales and marketing landscape is rapidly changing with digital innovations.
However, though industry trends, tools, and standards may be ever-evolving - and rapidly at that - this changing sales and marketing landscape offers promise for companies who can make it work for them, as the landscape shifts towards better ways to understand and connect with customers. In particular, sales and marketing professionals should be focusing on four things:
The rise of digital channels in B2B buying & selling
B2B buying has long been one of those tricky things to crack in comparison to its B2C counterpart. It’s always been easy with B2C - so many of the digital channels out there simply lend themselves to the way that consumers want to interact with each other, and as a result, with businesses. B2C tends to be sexier, and therefore, get more attention, meaning that there are plenty of options for communication in the B2C sphere.
But with B2B, it’s different; it’s long been left out of the game, as B2B tends to be one of the slow adopters. Consider the fact that there are still lots of cold calls and direct-mailers being sent as primary drivers of connecting with other businesses. This is about to change. B2B is finally getting the attention it deserves and B2B companies should be thinking outside the box when it comes to how they want to connect with potential clients.
With tools like Koble, acting as a business discovery tool, allowing both buyers and sellers to message each other, you’re starting to see a shift toward communication styles that actually reflect the way companies want to communicate and operate.
The rise in the importance of analytics
Analytics has always been important, but an increasing number of companies are collecting proprietary data and more informative insights with advances in AI, machine learning and targeting.
Analyzing data at scale plays an important role in justifying marketing spend and allows for better insights into what your target audience is looking for, along with a deeper understanding of the entire customer journey.
As analytics become more specific, sales and marketing teams can use what they learn from the data to make decisions based on facts — not just a hunch or intuition. Not only can this data inform companies on the types of businesses that are seeking information on their B2B product or service, they can leverage real-time analytics to understand the strength of a specific lead and respond nearly instantaneously.
Personalization or targeting as a key component
Again, we hear the words “personalization” and “targeting” thrown around when talking about sales and marketing a lot - but how a company incorporates personalization and targeting strategies is changing. With recent GDPR mandates, many companies have had to get serious about how they’re using customer data - and that mentality has extended to many U.S. companies as well, regardless of whether they have a massive European clientele. Pegasystems’ CMO Tom Libretto told Forbes that customers will quickly jump ship when they’re marketed irrelevant products or services, but by personalizing and targeting marketing efforts, companies will be able to retain and convert those customers.
Companies should be creating experiences that feel as though they’ve been specifically created for that customer, powered by advances in behavioral insights into how customers act and what they want, rather than widespread demographic guesses. Koble takes this into consideration, as it matches companies with other relevant companies, products, or people -- removing the work associated with searching for new suppliers or clients, and ensuring that the results are catered to that particular company’s preferences and needs.
Relationship-building through content and contacts
One of the biggest overall shifts in the changing sales and marketing landscape is the creating customer-centric strategies. For too long, businesses seemed only to think about “what do I want to say about our products and services?” rather than “what does the customer want to know about our products and services?” With this shift, comes an increased emphasis on building relationships through networking and through creating valuable, relevant content for customers that shows that you’re on their side. Customers aren’t looking - or even trusting - your ads, and instead turn to the people they know, branded sites, editorial sites, and reviews, according to a 2015 Nielsen study.
This tells us that people trust reputable content, and who they know -- not ads. Companies should be creating some of that reputable content, and they should be finding ways to become “who” the customer knows. Koble is set up to do just that by creating a community that not only enables sharing useful, and valuable content, but by offering a platform for relationship-building among companies with shared interests.
The changing landscape of sales and marketing is demonstrating a need for executing tactics with purpose - making sure that companies know their customers better, and then use that knowledge to better engage with them. Koble forges those meaningful connections through its B2B community, matching companies with relevant goals and offerings, and proves that there’s a way to make the changing landscape work for you.