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As B2B sales and marketing adapt to digital channels during the "new normal," some existing sales tactics have become infeasible (e.g., live events, in-person interactions.) From generating leads and nurturing relationships with the audience to progressing prospects down the funnel and passing the highest-quality leads to sales -- marketers well-versed in inbound marketing and online strategies are stepping up their games and taking the lead.
Remote working has affected B2B selling and how brands interact with their audiences. Without the ability to sell face-to-face and build customer relationships in-person, marketers are now taking prospects further down the sales funnel through online channels and more involved in every customer lifecycle stage. Here's how to adjust your B2B finance marketing strategy:
You probably have a few ideal customer profiles (ICPs) sitting around. If you haven't looked at them lately, it's time to revisit the information as many B2B buyers' priorities and behaviors have changed during the past year.
Thanks to remote working, people are now used to conducting business digitally. Buyers are doing more research online before they contact a seller, so you should understand their search behaviors and adjust your SEO strategies. Also, there may be a change in focus and demand among your target accounts so it's important to validate the assumptions you have made in the past.
You may need to adjust to changes in buying group dynamics. If there's a shift in the organizational structure of a target account, you may need to revisit how the stakeholders interact. Also, we can expect more non-linear interactions among decision-makers so you should adjust your funnel activities, e.g., by having sales and marketing activities happen in parallel rather than in succession.
Bottom line: You're selling to human beings. Even as you're navigating a buying group of multiple decision-makers, each one of them is a person who has emotions and craves connections, which has become more important during the WFH era.
Break the ice and connect with your audience by humanizing your brand using storytelling techniques. Instead of listing out features in a clinical way, start the conversation by telling a story about your products or services and the people who use them or build them. This will make your brand more memorable as you communicate how your products can help the audience at a deeper level.
Your stories can show how you solve pain points and transform a client's trajectory. They should help your audience imagine new possibilities and rethink their current situations. You can weave in original data to illustrate your point, experiment with the before/after style, as well as highlight your team and their contributions (e.g., through hands-on stories or your company's transformation.)
Sharing relevant and helpful content is an inbound marketing staple for building trust and credibility with an audience. Doing so through various digital touchpoints is more important than ever. But how can you effectively communicate complex ideas and information to a virtual audience?
Unlike one-to-one in-person sales conversations, it's harder to gauge an audience's reaction in real-time through online channels and make adjustments to your cadence or content accordingly. Thankfully, there are various advanced marketing technologies to help deliver the right information to the right people at the right time.
You can use list segmentation functions in your CRM system and audience targeting features on marketing platforms (e.g., LinkedIn) to deliver the most appropriate content to the right people. Set up automation campaigns to send out content based on a prospect's previous interactions with your content. Also, create a remarketing campaign that drips out content over time (e.g., a video series) to build relationships while making the information more digestible so it's more likely to be consumed.
While we can't meet new prospects in live events or build rapport via in-person conversations these days, we can use various online tools to re-create the real-time one-to-one dynamics so we can build trust and nurture relationships.
You should provide omnichannel pre- and post-sale support and leverage the latest communication technologies (e.g., a unified communications platform that offers voice and video calls, live chat, file sharing, screen sharing functions) to deliver a seamless customer experience.
Also, you can offer live webinars, virtual product demo, or Q&A sessions using video conferencing or webinar platforms to reach potential customers at scale. Set aside time to interact with your audience, use the opportunity to address their concerns, and encourage participants to ask questions via the chat function so you can tailor the content to focus on their pain points.
Many organizations are going through tough times. As many pull back their budgets, decision-makers tend to look for products and services that they know for certain will solve their burning issues, help them lower costs, and generate immediate results (e.g., within 90 to 120 days.)
B2B marketers need to shift from creating or generating demands to seeking out demands that already exist in the marketplace. The challenge is to find out who exactly is looking for which solution so you can present the right information to the right people.
Thanks to advanced analytics, you can now leverage a large amount of first-, second-, and third-party data to learn about your prospects. For example, you can analyze first-party customer information to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities. You can use second-party intent data to target prospects already in the market and searching for the solutions you offer. You can also leverage third-party data on these customers or prospects to supplement their profile information and gain insights from their online behaviors.
The change in customer preferences and behaviors is also changing the cadence of the B2B sales cycle. As buyers are seeking solutions to address immediate issues, their decision-making timeline may shorten. However, since they're doing more research online and weighing their options before entering a sales conversation, you may need to extend the awareness and consideration stages to allow for more relationship-building opportunities.
Meanwhile, changes in buying group dynamics will require sales and marketing to work in parallel. It's more important than ever to align your sales and marketing activities -- e.g., by using shared technologies and tracking joint KPIs -- so no matter how your prospects interact with your company, you can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
No doubt, changes are afoot. However, one thing remains constant -- your messaging, strategies, channels, and tactics need to meet your customers' demands and behaviors. A customer-centric approach to B2B finance marketing will help you thrive in any market condition and stand the test of time.
Published on Mar 9, 2021
<p>Remote working has affected B2B selling and how brands interact with their audiences. Without the ability to sell face-to-face and build customer relationships in-person, marketers well-versed in inbound marketing and online strategies are stepping up their games and taking the lead. This article discusses the key strategies you should implement to meet customer expectations, adjust to customer behaviors, and succeed in the new business environment.</p>