Modern Marketing

5 Ways to Give Your B2B Marketing Strategy a Makeover

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With Q2 halfway over, it’s the perfect time of year to recognize areas of improvements and make positive changes.   Doesn’t your B2B marketing strategy deserve a makeover?

As we wrap up the first quarter, try out these 5 ideas to improve your B2B marketing strategy:

1. Find new ways to integrate marketing channels. If your B2B marketing strategy is heavily concentrated in one channel, or marketing efforts are completely siloed, it may be time to consider a more holistic, comprehensive strategy. Incorporating new channels into existing efforts can help improve reach – and therefore results.  

For example, marketing efforts that focus on email marketing can incorporate social networking channels to maximize reach. In fact, a recent eMarketer report found that 40% of executives surveyed said integrating the two tactics is their No. 1 marketing initiative for 2010. Another quarter of respondents had already implemented an integrated strategy.

To combine the two tactics, email subscribers can be encouraged to not only forward content via email, but also share it via Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and other sites. On the converse, a poll could be conducted on Twitter and encourage followers to subscribe to an e-newsletter to obtain results.

2. Hear your customers.

Understanding customers’ unique challenges and recognizing the solutions they need is an essential element of any B2B marketing strategy. After all, if you aren’t honing in on what customers want, you’re likely to lose them to competitors. Fortunately, there are more tools available than ever before to support time-honored customer feedback practices such as:

  • Listening. Conversations are being conducted about your products, your brand and competitors on various digital channels throughout the web. Develop a comprehensive listening strategy to hear what’s being said and why. Use this data to help drive decisions going forward.
  • Asking. Traditional phone polls by customer service representatives have evolved to include additional marketing channels, including email and social media. Whether through a Twitter poll, blog comments or a website poll, there are more vehicles than ever to enlist customer feedback regarding what your organization is doing well and where it could improve.
  • Analyzing. Much can be determined by customer actions – not simply customers’ words. Website and email analytics give a clear view into whether or not you are providing the information or solutions that customers need.

3. When it comes to landing pages, test, test, test. Testing is key to creating relevant and optimized landing pages. By incorporating A/B testing as a tactic of your B2B marketing strategy, you can maximize conversion rates and get more leads for your money. Consider the numbers: Sending visitors to an optimized landing page can convert twice the amount of clicks, which equates to a 200% improvement in lead generation efforts.

Conduct A/B testing to determine the most effective version of the landing page. For example, test a landing page with two unique headlines to see which is more successful.

Testing can also be leveraged as a diagnostics tool to solve specific problems on the landing page. For instance, if visitors aren’t clicking on a certain call to action, try out new versions to see if results can be improved.

4. Use content to build relationships. If you aren’t already incorporating high-quality, relevant content for customers into your B2B marketing strategy, now is the time to do so. B2C websites may be able to focus content solely on product information. But because B2B sales conversions are based on building relationships, content can help your organization be recognized as a thought leader and trusted resource.

Use content – whether in a blog, in an e-newsletter, through a white-paper or via social networking channels – to educate customers rather than offering a sales pitch. There is no shortage of ideas for relevant, interesting and useful content:

  • Create in-depth whitepapers with pertinent industry statistics and original research
  • Conduct an interview with an industry thought leader, and turn it into a blog post or podcast for your website
  • Provide tips via an e-newsletter and social networking channels to help customers with common business challenges

5. Take lead management to the next level.

The importance of lead management in a B2B marketing strategy is clear: As many as 80% of B2B leads received are not yet ready to buy, according to consultancy Rain Today. Unfortunately, not all B2B organizations recognize the full potential of lead management efforts.

Lead management isn’t simply about lead nurturing and lead scoring. Elevate lead management efforts by:

  • Creating a lead database to manage and store all leads. Collect customer profile information over time, including their interests and behaviors. This can help segment leads to better target them with relevant content.
  • Providing sales insight. Instead of simply passing off a qualified lead to sales, provide history and insight into that lead. The more information sales has on a lead, the more likely the conversion.
  • Recycling leads. This can involve reassigning leads to a new sales rep or partner when the original rep doesn’t, or can’t, follow up in a timely manner. It also involves allowing sales reps to recycle leads and specify a timeframe for when they want leads to come back to them (i.e., if they aren’t able to connect with the prospect, or the customer isn’t quite ready to buy).

As we start a new quarter, don’t forget to take some time to make over your B2B marketing strategy. And to help keep your marketing strategy on the cutting edge throughout 2010, subscribe to the Modern B2B Marketing Blog RSS feed from Marketo.