08 Dec What are the most effective marketing methods for B2B tech selling today? Helen Fox has plenty to share with you.
Change. It’s always been apace in the tech industry. Yet in recent times, it seems that change has accelerated at an unprecedented rate. In response, your marketing strategy should be in a state of flux.
John Bancroft, our Managing Director, wrote recently about the challenges and opportunities of the past 18 months, and delved into how marketing budget cuts could be leading IT vendors to crisis-point if they don’t take the right steps. Now in part two of this series, Helen Fox, our Client Success Director will help you to move onwards and upwards – speaking about the smartest marketing moves to make as we face 2022 head on.
What marketing mediums have proven most effective during the past 18 months?
A mass exodus of the office has meant calls have gone unanswered and receptions have shut down. CSOs and ITOs have become harder and harder to reach. Where receptions have remained open, staff have been unwilling to hand over mobile numbers, as the people they lead to are also home working (often from a home with small children and multiple dogs).
In response, some are upping their email quota – they are tapping out more LinkedIn messages and creating more content in the hope of staying top of mind. But reducing call count is almost always a misguided misstep. Marketing automation can only push prospects so far.
Our advice is, and always will be, that calls are irreplaceable – they are one-to-one dialogues – real conversations that hand you invaluable information and build on relationships. They can establish whether a budget is set, what timescales are being worked to, and what other needs are unmet. They can also uncover whether that prospect you’ve been chasing even fits the bill to buy from you. So, my top tip can be summarised in a word – perseverance.
As has always been the case, outbound calling has driven more qualified sales leads over the past 18 months than any other medium (something that is reflected in the growth we have personally experienced from our own marketing campaigns). But it’s absolutely true to say that direct LinkedIn messaging and direct emails, with laser point messaging, have become more important as part of the overall process of generating qualified B2B marketing and sales leads.
The ‘Rule of 7’ – an age-old marketing principle that argues that seven interactions are needed before a prospect converts, seems as true today as it ever was
LinkedIn messages and direct emails, as well as traditional content creation, are supporting mediums which propel the overall sales/buying cycle. When done well, with sharp messages that truly understand the pain points of the people they’re targeting, they raise visibility and demonstrate credibility and capability. The result is a prospect who is more likely to take a call that results in an all-important face-to-face meeting.
Turning back to CSOs and ITOs, the pressure they’re under is immense, and high-level execs are now handing down responsibilities to managers, who have picked up a lot of the slack over the past 18 months. This has led to a change around the exec conference call table. We ourselves find that more and more we’re digitally sitting across from not just the CSO and ITO, but the managers below them too.
How has the pandemic impacted the content consumption of the C-Suite?
81% of C-level execs say they had greater trust in partners that are perceived as thought leaders, while 80% also say they are becoming more selective in the content they consume.
The pandemic brought with it an explosion in screentime for all demographics. Couple this with the blurred lines of home working, and you have a huge spike in online data and information consumption.
At Incognate, we’ve witnessed a rise in the number of people reading and learning through LinkedIn – more people than ever are engaging with blogs, articles and case studies.
The lesson to be learned is that your social content must be clear and accessible, and your content strategy must be designed around current content consumption behaviours. As the perfect example, is the typical C-Suite exec. Like most, they’ve upped their screen time over the course of the pandemic, working to deepen their industry knowledge, including researching competitors and potential suppliers.
This hands you an opportunity to deliver the right content at the right time, in the right context and to the right people.
Our New Business Development Framework identifies who you should target, the challenges they face, the opportunities at your disposal and what further information you could capture in order to get your content in front of the decision makers. Speaking of which…
What should B2B firms do when faced with a failing funnel?
Let me share a story with you. We once worked with a client that was throwing thousands into the sales funnel, with little being returned in the way of leads. The marketing campaign had run for years, involving big-budget events and media work, with the aim of raising their profile.
Initially, we asked them two questions – who did they need to engage with, and how could they solve their problems? This ultimately led us to finding a poorly defined value proposition. So we reviewed it explored market drivers such as – customer-driven, legislation, economics – and created a new more powerful proposition with more laser focused and up to date messaging that got results.
While a failing sales funnel isn’t always due to value proposition, this situation is far from uncommon. We often take a step back and review this before moving forward as we must be sure that the client’s proposition is on point. Without this, even the most powerful marketing and persuasive sales calls will fall flat. As for that client, they now have the right message, know who to speak with and how to handle objections.
Another key element of a successful sales funnel is outbound calls, but they should never be thought of as just a deal closer. We use conversations every step of the way to fact-find, analyse and really get to know the prospect.
In contrast, inbound and content marketing often targets buyer personas. Speaking of which, let’s take Jenny as our example. You know Jenny – married with the 3 kids, university education, customer services director, who drives a Volvo etc?
This background information is all well and good, but what are Jenny’s real frustrations in her organisation and role? Selling to Jenny is less about what she drives, and more about what really drives a human to seek a solution to a problem.
So while inbound and content marketing can do the legwork and go some way to warming a prospect up, it is two-way conversation that pushes both the relationship and our understanding of a prospect forward to result in a sales qualified lead. Ultimately, it is this activity that will grow your sales pipeline and your business.
If your pipeline is diminished and in need of a boost contact Helen Fox, Client Success Director on 07971 523 760 now to discuss your requirements.