What does 2013 hold for the growing B2B business marketer? Rather than peer into our crystal ball, we decided to do the responsible thing as your trusted marketing advisor and do some RESEARCH!
In doing so, we found a few interesting stats, such as:
- On average, most B2B companies are using a combination of 12 tactics to reach prospective buyers, including email marketing, video marketing, white papers, social media, etc.
- While digital marketing methods reign supreme as top trends, a study of B2B marketers found that in-person events and/or meetings was the #1 most effective method of reaching potential prospects (79% of the surveyed population).
- 67% of organizations plan on increasing their email marketing budget in 2013
- On average, email marketing drives 22% of your Website traffic
Along the way, we also found a lot of cool new trends in marketing (mobile apps, virtual conferences), but we want to focus on the ones that will matter to you as a small business (i.e., your company has an annual marketing budget of $50,000 or less).
Let’s focus on 3 growing and very effective marketing trends for small business:
- Video Marketing
- Social Media/Blogs
The rising use (and declining cost) of video in marketing is great news for the smaller B2B marketer. With dozens of possible applications for business marketing, video has been shown to substantially increase conversion rates, encourage sharing of content, and create a more engaging experience for the viewer. Did you know?:
- Cisco claims that 85% of all Internet traffic in 2015 will be video (CRN)
- YouTube is second only to Google as a search engine. (Your prospects are looking for answers/solutions on video!)
- So far in 2012, there are over 190 million Internet users watching online video for close to 30 hours per person per week (ComScore)
Yes, we admit we’re biased, but we believe Webinars are one of the most effective and least expensive forms of marketing available to small businesses. But don’t take our word for it: according to Inc. magazine, “Webinars will continue to level the playing field for small businesses into the future.” (10/31/12)
With Webinars, a small company can appear larger. The audience never knows if they are one of 5 or 500 in the room, so you can focus on the quality of the prospects that attend rather than the quantity. Through effective Webinar promotion, you grow your opt-in email list (for future nurturing) and through high-quality content delivery, you provide valuable knowledge to your prospect and let them see you as the expert.
Here’s some further food for thought about Webinars: your competitors may not be doing them. This gives you a huge competitive advantage in these days of “Out-educate your competition.” According to B2B Content Marketers, only 46% of companies are currently doing any Webinars; however, of these:
- 72% consider them “highly effective” in driving lead generation
- 60% are increasing their investment in Webinars next year
- Webinars still only account for 6-10% of their total marketing budget
Isn’t it time you considered a Webinar strategy for your business?
This year, 87 percent of marketers are using social media/blogs to distribute content, as compared to the rate of 74 percent that was reported last year. (B2B Content Marketers)
With the #1 fastest-growing adoption rate among business marketers, social media and blogging are on top of the digital marketing heap. As of now, the top 5 channels for B2B marketing (by number of articles/items posted) are: Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
Why should businesses focus on increasing their social media and blog marketing in 2013?
- Your prospects are vetting you online. 92% of shoppers (B2B or B2C) will go online first to research products and services. They will trust the recommendations and opinions posted by friends and online connections more than television, radio, magazine and newspaper advertising combined. (Aberdeen Research)
- Your competitors are already there (or soon will be). Why let them have the floor all to themselves?
- It doesn’t matter what size business you are. Social media is the great equalizer of businesses. Everyone from a “Mom and Pop” shop to Coca-Cola can market a brand online.
- It enhances your other marketing channels. All social media and blog posts should integrate with your Web site, email campaigns, events, etc.
- It’s relatively inexpensive at this point. The true cost of social media is in the time and effort to plan content and consistently engage with followers.
Need help devising your marketing strategy for 2013? We’re here to help! Contact REV at (770) 856-2087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here at REV, we often recommend Webinars as a highly effective and cost-efficient marketing vehicle, especially for businesses that need to educate their target audience in order to create sales opportunities. You probably already know the obvious reasons for hosting a Webinar, including nurturing your contacts and generating new prospects. However, we’d like to offer you some lesser-known, possibly quirkier, advantages of hosting a Webinar:
- Gives you an excuse to reach out to your clients, prospects, referral partners, etc. A Webinar is an event, and provides you an opportunity to send invitations to your contacts. Even if they don’t register or attend, it still counts as a “touch” in the nurturing process, and helps to keep you top of mind.
- Makes for great SEO fodder. Since you are updating your Web site and social media sites (that link back to your Web site) with Webinar announcements and updates, you will create relevancy around the Webinar topic and your company. Higher relevancy leads to higher rankings in search engines. And we all want to be highly relevant to our target audience!
- Demonstrates some of your personality. Most of the time when interacting with prospects and clients, we are on our best professional behavior (as we should be). While still providing valuable information, your Webinars can also give your audience a taste of your fun side. For example, when I moderate Webinars for REV or for clients, I always joke with the audience that I conduct interactive polls mainly to “make sure you’re still awake and paying attention.” You have a captive audience for 30-60 minutes; why not leave an impression of a knowledgeable and likeable person?
As you can tell, Webinars hold a special place in our hearts, and we love to discuss them. Feel free to ask questions or comment below!
For most of us as business owners or revenue generators, the frustrating part of sales is not the moments we spend in front of interested parties uncovering needs and explaining our services. That’s the fun part! It’s getting to those moments—you know, prospecting—that we really don’t want to do.
Why is prospecting such a dreaded activity? In talking with clients about this, our consensus is that prospecting can seem 1.) time-consuming, b.) unfocused, c.) too “cheesy,” or d.) all of the above! For most of us, prospecting takes place when we have a few extra minutes (and need some new business). We make a few calls or send some emails, resulting in some hits and some misses. Then we’re on to the next piece of “real work” we need to do.
Are there more systematic, efficient and effective ways to prospect? We think so. Use our top 5 prospecting tips below to get started on the path to learning to love prospecting:
- Redefine prospecting. One of our clients told us he “hates” to cold call, but he’s “happy to ‘warm call.’ ” Although prospecting can and should involve calls, expand your definition of prospecting to activities such as sending a newsletter, setting up a meeting, writing a “nice to meet you” note, inviting to an event, posting a comment on a blog or LinkedIn group discussion, or sending an article you think will interest the prospect.
- Make a list of your top 25 prospects, your top 5 clients, and your top 10 referral partners. (If these numbers don’t quite fit your business, they can be tweaked.) This is where you should spend 80% of your available prospecting time, as this is likely where you will get 80% of your business.
- Narrow the field. Analyze your top 5-10 clients; what do they have in common? Define the characteristics that make them a top client (size, industry, buying cycles, type of decision maker, etc.). Now, list the top 3 problems or pains your business solves for them. Build your prospecting efforts around solving these issues for this type of client.
- Qualify, qualify, qualify. This is the most important thing you can do to increase your closing ratio and maximize your prospecting time. Qualify by using broad appeal approaches such as Webinars, white papers/reports, free newsletters, and/or email campaigns to separate the wheat (prospects) from the chaff (suspects). Once you’ve figured out who’s interested in what you have to offer, now you can nurture them with more time-consuming strategies such as calls, personal emails, and meetings. (Again, 80% of your business will come from 20% of your database.) Work with your go-to marketing resource (need one?) to develop a plan for different levels of prospecting efforts.
- Automate the follow-up process. “I’ll shoot you an email with that information.” We have all the best intentions in the world to follow up as promised with our prospects. However, we are human, and our attention is constantly diverted. To get started with automating, look at your 3-5 most-often sent emails (such as a follow-up email after a meeting) and decide if they can be setup as templates that automatically generate, merge in specific contact info, and send to your prospect (known as auto-responders). Once sent, this activity then sets off a series of subsequent emails or other sales activities.
There are marketing automation systems such as Infusionsoft, Hubspot, etc. that can automate content marketing and integrate contact management, email tracking, Web forms, and other functions as well. However, developing a simple workflow on paper and building out templates in Word to support it can go a long way toward automating your sales process.
Have questions? Contact us, and we’re glad to help. Happy Prospecting!
One mistake we see many business owners and executives make is to hire a salesperson and expect that person to also handle marketing, or hire a marketing person and ask them to carry a quota.
First and foremost, business owners, please hear this: Salespeople are not marketers, and marketers are not salespeople. You do not want to hire one or the other to do both jobs. Why?
[As you read below, please keep in mind that the author has served on both sides of the house, and has no compunction about picking on either side!]
1. Salespeople are typically not great writers (or graphic designers). Marketers ensure that any communications, promotions, advertising, etc. is consistent with the company brand. Salespeople just want to “get ‘er done,” whether or not it reflects the brand. Never entrust a salesperson with articulating your hard-earned brand in his/her own words!
2. Marketers are typically not persistent types that don’t mind rejection. Sales is all about keeping polite pressure on prospects or clients until they buy, die, or tell you to go away.
3. Salespeople are driven by immediate results. Their minds are on the end of the month/quarter because that is how their job performance is evaluated and compensated. Don’t expect them to think long-term about advancing the company’s brand and market position, as a marketer can and should.
4. Salespeople are not motivated to perform marketing functions. If you want a commissioned salesperson to take on marketing tasks such as writing newsletter articles, Web design, social media management, etc., you will have to change the compensation structure to reflect this or it will not get done. Again, a salesperson’s job performance is usually compensated based on the sales he/she makes, not on how pretty that new brochure looks.
5. Marketers are task-oriented, salespeople are people-oriented. This is not to say that marketers don’t like people, and salespeople can’t accomplish tasks. However, marketing is all about managing multiple tasks, tracking project timelines, and analyzing results. Sales is about two things: building relationships and closing deals with prospects. That’s it. (And, really, it’s all about the second thing.)
Can’t afford to hire both sales and marketing? We have a solution for that.