There's a lot happening in B2B sales and marketing in terms of trying to understand what's changed. After two years of lockdown, business closures and the great resignation, B2B new business has taken a turn for the worst.
I recently spoke with the CMO of a large organisation who commented that B2B marketing was at least ten years behind B2C. Naturally I agreed, and we continue to talk about the state of new business and the impact on sales.
One of the major changes more recently has been the blurred lines regarding workspace, i.e., #WFH, but work from home is all well and good, but when it comes to selling business technology sass or services, attempting to make contact has become harder than ever.
It was difficult enough trying to cold call people at their offices and trying to get through the gatekeeper, but now the receptionist refuses to give out personal mobile numbers and contact can only be made if you have their email, and no, they won't give out emails either.
Contacting a Prospect!
A typical sequence of events is as follows
- If a website visit occurs, then the reverse IP look up software kicks into action to hunt them down
- If a document is downloaded by prospect, the contact details are deliberately generic so direct communication with the prospect is virtually impossible
- The BDR/SDR tries to make contact but fails (see above)
- The prospect may unsubscribe at any point if the content is not good enough
- Multiple emails are sent in in an attempt to start a conversation
- After confirming who the business is, the ABM machine kicks into play
- Firmographic analysis of staff and company type is performed on LinkedIn or with a data provider
- The company has no choice but to instruct the BDR to start cold calling to make contact
What is surprising is that mar-tech leaders such as Demandbase acknowledge in their latest playbook ABM/ABX that most businesspeople including themselves want to remain anonymous when it comes to looking at new products or suppliers. And if a salesperson has the temerity to contact the CMO John Miller, cold, he takes great pleasure in dressing them down (Page 10).
This week 23rd March 2022, Hubspot announced the launch of Hubspot Creators, a podcast launchpad. Hubspot are clearly getting in on podcasting market, which in itself is no suprise, seeing as Spotify, not so long ago invested a further $500m, well Joe Rogan needed to be paid! My point, is that its about content, not demand generation. Hubspot, I believe, are saying that engagement needs to be something other than just a downloadable document behind an email form and seeing as podcasting is growing at a rapid rate, personalised or highly targeted, anonymous listening seems to Hubspot to tbe the way forward..
We are the Anonymous Buyers
The reality of the anonymous buyer is that we are all consumers. And whilst the B2C marketers have been used to dealing with anonymous buyers and only marketing to their preferred personas and age groups, B2Bs are lagging behind because they thought selling was easy!
Most business owners have been encouraged to buy into Demand Generation software such as HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot or Eloqua. But even Oracle (Eloqua) don't use it on their own landing pages as they clearly know B2Bs want a bit of privacy and they'll probably buy when they're ready. With all this anonymity going on how can any business get traction if you also throw GDPR into the mix.
When the likes of LinkedIn start writing about The Anonymous Buyer too, it's probably time to sit up and take notice. I'm pleased to say that we appear to be ahead of the curve, yet again because our raison-d'etre is to enable business owners and buyers to self-educate and decide for themselves rather than spend cxopius amounts of money by employing telesales to do a soul-destroying and fruitess task.
Digital Selling Snapshot
The only option left is to increase attraction, but what are the options? To begin with there are only five types of media that can be consumed: -
B2B Performance Marketing Strategy
Create Engaging Content
- Written – Website
- Written – Download
- Live Stream
Align Content to Stages
- How to Buy
- Social 444 – Auto-post 120 adverts every month on social media. 4 ads per day x 30 days = 120
- TAM – Acquire Total Addressable Market database, import to CRM and ensure correct decision-maker data
- Banners adverts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Industry Magazines, and Websites
- Email TAM weekly. It takes 7-10 connections to recognise a brand. 1-in-3 messages get through, 1% of TAM is looking each week. Allow 30 weeks
- Analytics to monitor engagement via marketing automation, Tag Manager and Analytics
We can provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ to create, and project manage all the above.
Alternatively, we can build a bespoke workshop to retrain your marketing teams, making you self-sufficient with our team on-hand to provide support whenever necessary.
Once the content is ready, the B2B Performance Strategy can run for up to eighteen months.
Demand generation and ABM hide your content from all the search engines and forces your business to adopt cold calling as the only viable activity to connect, which currently stands at approximately a 400-1 shot of finding someone who’s interested.
Forrester says that less than 1% through the funnel become revenue paying customers and Gartner say that 83% of B2Bs do their own research before speaking to a salesperson and 80% of sales will be digital by 2025, with 44% preferring seller-free experiences.
B2B Statistics to Make You Cry
Some interesting statistics:
- 80% of all sales will be made via digital channels by 2025, not direct sales - Gartner
- 79% prefer video to phone - Gartner
- 89% believe in sustainable digital GTM - Gartner
- 41% want more video conferencing - McKinsey
- 23% want more online CHAT - McKinsey
- 83% Research Digitally before engaging with a salesman - Gartner
- .5% Less than 1% traverse the 'funnel' and create revenue - Forrester
- 30% of businesses fail in the first year - FT
- 50% of businesses fail by the second year - FT
- 70% of businesses fail by the third year - FT
- 91% of businesses fail by the 10th year - FT
- 40% of Invested Business Fail - Harvard
- 80% of Invested Business Fail to achieve their own targets - Harvard
- 95% of Invested business Fail to achieve an ROI for Investors - Harvard
- 50% of all business’s failure reasons, are marketing related - CB Insights
- 1 in 400 Cold call success rates - University of Life
- B2C marketing strategies do not work for B2B - University of Life
- Stop using automation platforms to replace cold calling - University of Life
- £100k turnover per person per annum is the norm - BIS
- Average tenure of CMO's in UK & USA is 18 months - Recruitment Industry + Press + Seth Godin
What is the anonymous buyer, and why is it important for B2B businesses?
The anonymous buyer is a term used to describe business professionals who prefer to remain anonymous when researching new products or services. This is an important consideration for B2B businesses as it means traditional demand generation tactics like cold calling or telesales are becoming less effective. Instead, businesses need to focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that allows the anonymous buyer to self-educate and decide for themselves.
What are the five types of media that can be consumed in B2B marketing?
The five types of media that can be consumed in B2B marketing are written content on websites and downloadable documents, video content, podcasts, live streaming, and banner advertisements.
How can B2B businesses optimise their content to align with different stages of the buying process?
To optimise content for different stages of the buying process, businesses should create content that aligns with the primary, secondary, general, product, and how-to-buy stages. For example, primary stage content could be top-of-funnel educational content, while product stage content could focus on product demos and case studies.
What are some key digital selling techniques that B2B businesses can use to enhance their online presence?
B2B businesses can enhance their online presence by utilising digital selling techniques such as social media marketing, acquiring total addressable market databases, banner advertising on LinkedIn and other platforms, email marketing, and analytics to monitor engagement via marketing automation, tag manager, and analytics.
What are some common pitfalls to avoid when creating content for B2B marketing?
Some common pitfalls to avoid when creating content for B2B marketing include not knowing your target audience, not optimizing for on-page SEO, not offering diverse content formats, not promoting content through social media or email marketing, and not measuring performance and adjusting strategy accordingly.
In today's volatile market, it seems more and more relevant to say 'build it and they will come'. But this time it's about the content and actually making a point of promoting the content first and not the product, and with a call to action to encourage the browser to the next stage.
There’s nothing new under the sun, no one has a product that is so revolutionary no one knows about it, so it makes sense to promote content to help educate your audience and allow them to naturally come to a conclusion to buy from you.
Done properly, you can scale up your business at a fraction of any costs you may have anticipated. That’s where we come in by helping you develop your digital selling capabilities.