The author and founder of salesXchange, Nigel Maine is a B2B marketing and sales expert with a proven track record in scaling up growth for Technology, SaaS, and Professional Services organisations. With 30 years hands-on experience and unique approach, Nigel has developed an effective strategy that dramatically increases exposure and profitability for B2B organizations.
Nigel has founded multiple start-ups, is a published author, public speaker and hosts both a podcast and business live streaming show, broadcast on LinkedIn Live, YouTube & Facebook. He also has extensive knowledge of MarTech software, creative hardware and software, and A.I. prompting tools. Contact: 0800 970 9751 or email
This is it. This is the DEEP DIVE to explain the most revolutionary approach to B2B marketing that has ever been recorded. There’s no other strategy like it. It doesn’t involve buying loads of software and blasts the existing ideas and strategies marketers have been banging on about for years and calmly and politely – chucks them in the bin.
If you haven’t watched The Alternative B2B Marketing Strategy about how we got to design this alternative marketing plan, you’ve got to take a look at that first as it is pretty much the intro to this video.
And if you have watched it, well thank you kindly and I hope you’ll like this ‘deep-dive’ where I explain the new B2B marketing strategy called Digital Selling.
I hope you’ll have plenty of aha moments, especially as I am presenting this as a de facto standard for B2B marketing, because as you probably know, the existing methodologies are not working.
What I have brought together is an interconnecting strategy that generates new business. You’ve heard all the aficionados tell you what you should be doing when it comes to B2B marketing and mostly it’s based on treating business prospects and customer as if they were high street consumers.
Business buyers don’t want to see endless social media posts, they’re not interested. They’re not buying a pair of trainers; they’re looking to buy your business-related product that’s supposed to help them make more money. That’s it. If you can’t prove that to a business owner or their appointed member of staff, you’re wasting your time and theirs.
So, let’s get started. There are six elements to setting up a Digital Selling infrastructure. And you’ve probably got some of them already. So The six elements in order of priority are: - The About Us Page, How to Buy, Your Product Pages Content Pages Adverts and finally the part that is about Replacing Cold Calling or being able to reach out to businesses who don’t know you /.
First up is the About Us page. This is the most sought after and popular page on any website because your customers want to know who they’re buying from. You make everything harder for yourself if you don’t have an engaging About Us page or especially if you don’t have one at all.
About Us is not about your product. The giveaway is in the title. I shared my background and journey to developing Digital Selling but didn’t go into any depth about the actual strategy as I’m doing now. Another point to make, is the About Us is not a corporate video. These are only enjoyed by us as directors so we can see what we’ve built and to show the investors where they’re money is. Customers not so much
People want to get to know you. It’s as simple as that.
I heard a story a few days ago where a customer services director met with an international client who had been with them for about 18 months or so. The customer services director was also a published author of children’s books. The meeting involved multiple people including both CEO’s.
One of the clients’ parties had searched online, found that the customer services director was a published author, purchased the books, brought them to the meeting and discussed them. This is a great example that customers want to research and learn about their suppliers, not just the owners, but the people who are going to do the work and be responsible for the day-to-day relationship.
When it comes to the about us page, it needs to follow a typical story structure because it keeps people engaged. The format and approach is used in films and documentaries which is why we keep watching them and don’t switch off. We’re all aware of people binge-watching on Netflix, well, it the same reason. The director kept viewers engaged. There are literally hundreds of articles and books and videos and diagrams about this subject.
Here are some of the popular formats or diagrams I’ve come across. I have also provided my own summary structure because it can be a bit daunting looking at too many. I’ve put a link in the description if you’d like to download it.
As part of the process, if we were to work with you to create your About Us video, firstly, we need to understand your background and any information you’re happy to share. Then we’d put together a script, followed by a screenplay, to know what additional footage is going to be included, including photos, this is what’s called B Roll and it’s a significant ingredient that keeps people engaged. And finally, there the shot-list, for person shots and location shots which can be quite varied, but again, only to make sure we keep things visually interesting for the viewer: -
There are the ///THIS CAN BE EDITED AS REQUIRED
The Person Shots: Close-Up Shot (CU) – From Collar Bone Medium Close Up Shot (MCU) – From Mid Upper Arm Bicep Medium Shot (MS) – From Belt Cowboy Shot – From Thigh
Full Shot – Inc Shoes! Slider Shot
And all the BTS Shots
The location shots: Establishing Shot – Setting the scene Establishing Shot – Multiple locations/plus obscuring Segue/Lead in Shot – What was happening before? Main Action Shot – The interview or activity Reaction Shot – Response to the action Detail Shot – Close up of activity
The you’ve got all the different focal lengths for the lenses, the anamorphic cinema for effect
Wide angle for bit of emotion telephoto for compression
The whole point is to keep your prospects interested and to keep them listening. The point is to offer prospects enough information about you and your company to make them feel like they know you. You know, to get up close and personal, but not too much.
To complete the About Us video, we then decide on the audio, or what’s called sound design, which is the deliberate background noises, ambient sound, certain sound effects if they’re needed and finally, we choose some decent non-corporate sounding music for the intro and outro and perhaps incidental music too which can make a whole lot of difference.
Ultimately, you could get Stephen Spielberg to film and direct your video, however, were looking for authenticity, keeping it real and not spending millions, hahaha!
We edit everything together, include subtitles and a transcript for SEO and create a finished product that eventually will be promoted, using adverts and trailers to drive traffic to the page where the video will reside.
People buy people and the very first thing we all do as individuals, is decide if we like someone enough to get to know them. Gartner did a survey and published that 83% of businesses research digitally before even speaking to a salesperson. If a prospect can’t get to first base with you and learn about who you are, they will do it with someone else who does. And we don’t want that.
And don’t forget, this video and any of the other videos can be live, online, for years, so it makes sense to create something that is worthwhile and long lasting.
How to Buy Pages
Next up is your How to Buy pages; This is the primary page or pages in your Digital Selling arsenal. Too often, businesses set up their websites and simply tell people what they do and expect them to pick up the phone or email them, they don’t, and they won’t.
I often thought that some businesses hadn’t worked out how to get business online. But when Forrester published some research saying that less then 1% of prospects who visit a website and are taken down a funnel path, actually end up becoming a paying customer, so it p[roves there needs to be a change in priorities.
The objective of your How to Buy pages or pages, is to remove any friction and enable prospects to buy from you online I’m not talking eCommerce I’m talking about being able to take an order online instead of talking to, or visiting a customer. I can’t stress enough that this is the primary activity you can adopt that will immediately impact digital selling and help you to scale up with the minimal amount of cost. It just takes some thought.
Bullet Points: There are multiple activities that you could provide to help this process such as: -
Pricing Calculators, terms and conditions online or downloadable order forms initial order forms, pricing sheets, detailed explanations as to what will happen once, they place an order with you. Set up DocuSign from Adobe. Give them access to a Calendar platform. Making sure you have a direct freephone 0800 line to pre-sales, prominently displayed on your website to handle any immediate enquiries and you set up a redirect on no-answer, to someone’s mobile phone.
I’m sure you get my drift. It will take some thought but, like I said, your How-to-Buy Pages are the key to scaling up and future profitability.
When it comes to your product pages, whether you have physical product or a service, you have to make sure you have the best online PRODUCT presentations you could ever create. You’ve got to grasp that the work done here is going to be accessed 24/7 – 365 days a year.
This really is your pitch, your presentation, your message to the outside world you have a great product and you’re open for business whenever it suits them.
The objective is to enable prospects to get an insight to your business and get an answer to pretty much anything they want to at the click of a button and without having to set up a call-back, booking a meeting or jumping through all the hoops no one likes.
First order of the day is to use video and photos for products and people. You need to think creatively. Prospects are looking for authenticity, not Star Wars. Starting with physical product, keep thinking along the lines of FAB, feature, attribute, benefit. What it is, what it does and what it means to them. Think camera angles, think asking the manufacturer for anything they may already have, but if they don’t you only have to think how much profit you make from selling these products to justify who much you want to spend on creating your video content.
In line with the product, you can link to case studies and interviews. To online brochures as well as downloadable PDF's. Because someone may want to forward it to someone else. Set up Live Chat on your website. Have an up-to-date FAQs page and include a messaging contact form at the bottom of the web page to enable browsers to ask a question if they can’t find an answer. This also helps with updating and populating the FAQs.
And finally, make sure your Product Page call-to-actions link to How-to-Buy.
Your CONTENT presents your expertise and personality AND educates your prospects You’ve got to help teach prospects and, in the process, help them get to know you. /
There’s no limit to content; it simply needs to cover what you need. Don’t create vapid ‘thin’ content every day simply to appear on social media. This is a complete waste of time. Prospects need enough content that helps them understand your company and product. I can’t say you only need one though leadership piece and two case studies as it completely depends on you, your business, your products, existing customers and whatever you already have.
Once we understand what you do and what you’ve got, then a specific amount of content could be aligned to that. I hope that makes sense. There is nothing stopping you creating as much content as you want, but don’t forget it must adhere to the right template structure.
Talking of template structures, what I’ve got here is a basic layout of a page. Google will crawl your page and can tell how it’s laid out. Google knows where the H1, H2 and H3 titles are. It will look for a clickable content list, for bullet lists, numbered lists, graphics, pictures, videos, podcast audio links and any other link that will enhance the article. Google will look at the number of characters in the URL title, the browser page title, and the article title. It will look at the meta descriptions and settings and also analyse how quickly the page loads and finally, it will determine if the article can be read by a twelve-year-old, so it’s not too technical, before it decides how and where it will rank it in the search engine.
So, if you’re not getting any visibility for content, you’ve made publicly available, it’s probably because it didn’t tick one of the boxes I mentioned. Or perhaps it was simply too short and would have been interesting to enough people. Phew, it’s not surprising people are stumped when it comes to all this.
As I mentioned about video, your content will be ‘live’ for years to come, however, you are expected to update and tweak it to improve performance and visibility for SEO. Once it goes live, it gets monitored by Google who looks for updates and changes.
By using Google Analytics you can monitor the progress and success of your content, from how far down the page they scroll, what they click on and how long they read it. That’s why a common popular article length is between 2,000 and 6,000 words. So, if your content fails, there’s a reason, and you go back and fix it or delete it. A bit like a salesperson really, if they fail, you give them more training or you fire them. Anyway, on to the next
One of the most significant aspects of your content is that some types of content are more important than others Therefore it needs to be categorised as Primary Secondary and General.
Primary Content is Thought Leadership Educational Information Whitepapers and so on. Secondary Content is Social Proof Case Studies and Interviews and General Content is lower Interest information like Company News and Charity Events etc.
As I mentioned earlier, every content page must have a call-to-action I’m not so bothered about General content, but Secondary content would link to Primary pages, Primary to product and product to How to Buy pages.
There’s an aspect to content that relates to a protocol from Scheme.org called Structured Data which tells Google what type of page you have created. Structured data is picked up by the search engines and is used for page ranking with SEO elements, for page analysis for voice search using Siri or Alexa and content analysis for Google to know what has been said in a video or podcast. Google doesn’t crawl audio files, well, not yet anyway, so transcripts are inserted to the structured data code to Google can rank and display your content correctly. It’s only a small technical thing and one that your web people will be aware of, but a lot of web developers don’t include it because they’re not asked. But it is worth mentioning here
Now to the second major element relating to content that most business have missed. It’s not that people are fickle; they simply like to consume content on their terms. For example, a CEO might listen to part of a podcast on their way in to work and finish listening to it at home on smart speakers. When they’re at their home office desk, they might watch a video with the speakers on, however, when they’re at their office they might watch the same, but in silence so as not to disturb anyone. And depending on the time of day or location, they may want to read a PDF document that was emailed to them by a member of staff or review a website on their tablet.
No one can decide which format content should be created in. It is just not possible. Therefore, we implement a process that exploits different tools that reduces the overall workload to create multi-format content.
Where we also help you, is by providing workshops and templates, to guide your team to follow a structure that communicates your message in line with Primary, Secondary and General content parameters.
When it comes to Video, we help direct copywriters to create the necessary scripts and screenplays, from the About Us video, to How to Buy, Product and any other Primary, or Secondary videos including Customer Stories and interviews and so on.
We provide all the production, directing and editing resources throughout. Including teleprompter operation I can’t tell you how easy it makes the whole process using those.
You’ll love using teleprompters and so will whoever is being filmed.
Podcasting is a simpler as we can provide end to end resources including a Podcast Host who will interview and present the show or we provide workshops to train your staff, from the basics of presenting and hosting through to editing and creating intros, sound effects and adverts. It can be as much or as little as you require.
The final point I’d like to make about creating all this content is that it can be done in an organic way. We can identify, organise and deliver everything required or, we can make provision to recommend all equipment and systems and help get your business set up and trained to execute all the content yourselves.
Then there’re the ADVERTS. I mentioned in the main video that Business to Business organisations are competing with Consumer businesses for ‘eyeballs’ on social media and B2C are winning because, they’re appealing to individuals, not businesses and they have more budget than B2Bs. So how do you compete?
The solution is to create multiple, varied adverts such as Videos Memes Graphics & Animations and use the adverts to sell the content you’ve created.
The first part of the advertising strategy is that we’re going to SELL the content not the product. Trying to sell the product first is the primary mistake businesses keep making. Creating ads to sell products is simply wishful thinking and we’re not in the B2C game.
To labour the point here. If it’s boiling hot outside and an advert appears showing an ice-cold drink, and it makes you want to go and get a cold one out of the fridge. That’s great. The advert worked.
No amount of cajoling or hype will make someone buy your business product. Whether it’s hot outside or not. We’re selling solutions that help increase productivity and profitability for the businesses we’ve identified that we want to sell to and to do that people or prospects, need to get to know us first. Trying to sell the product first is like trying to get a kiss on the first date!
The second part of the advertising strategy is to prepare a minimum 120 Adverts in advance. The reasons for 120 is once the ads are ready, they’re uploaded to an online platform and we publish 4 adverts 4 times a day over 4 weeks and repeat – that equals 120 and this is what I’ve called Social 444
Posting is done automatically using a platform like SmarterQueue to publish to multiple social media channels and pages /so this really is set-and-forget marketing, and it doesn’t need updating for 12-18 months!!!
Preparing them in advance also means: 1.) enable you to budget accurately 2.) you can easily manage the process internally or contract the work out and 3.) It enables you to analyse the tone-of-voice of your business before you click ‘go-live’.
Remember the older TV adverts, like Renault Clio and Nicole, the OXO family, and the Gold Blend ad. All these were done in advance so that the essence was communicated. That’s exactly what this does by creating them in advance.
Graphic designers and creative types are aware that video, motion graphics and static graphic templates are available for hundreds of websites around the world at a very low cost, contractors are also available from contract platforms such as Fiverr and People-by-the-hour, so there shouldn’t be a question about cost or how long it would take to create 120 adverts. I thought I should let you know that little nugget
Like I said earlier, it’s the adverts, that sells the content that promotes the product that shows customers why they need to Buy from you.
And finally, you stop using Automation that means No Forms No Gate-Keeping Content and No Cold Calling. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard companies tell me that people download their content and then immediately unsubscribe. Then they’re perplexed when the prospects are abusive if they receive a COLD telephone call after they’ve downloaded something.
The other downside to marketing automation is two-fold, firstly, you end up hiding all your content form the search engines, so no amount of SEO or keywords will make it visible to Google. A form is a form, and not even Google can see through it.
And secondly, because you’ve hidden all your content, the only way to get any visibility is to pay Google, Linked or Facebook for a Pay-Per-Click campaign. Then you’re into an auction to bid to get certain rankings and also you have to ensure you have well written PPC text or visually appealing banner adverts to persuade a browser to visit your landing page, that also needs the same expertise to write and design the landing page, before they are convinced to give up their details.
It’s all too much effort. My way is much simpler and cheaper
Replace Cold Calling & Increase Exposure
I love this bit this is the piece-de-resistance What better way to conclude a marketing strategy than to replace cold calling. What bliss Let’s face it, any activity that has such poor odds of 400-1 has got to be stopped.
Replacing cold calling I think is one of the most exciting aspects of this overall approach because it is so engaging. It requires minimal work and can reach so many people because it involves Live Streaming.
The first thing to understand is why Live Stream works. It’s because you can invite prospects and customers to join in they can ask questions and listen to interviews etc /completely anonymously from the comfort of their mobile or screen which means they can dip in and out and get to know your business from a distance.
It’s the same premise as not gate-keeping content. Everything you create has your contact details on it. It’s the same with live streaming. They know who you are because they’re watching you, and you get to display your web address, email and 0800 number throughout the show and they will contact you WHEN THEY’RE READY. You also get to use your video adverts that were created for Social 444 too. So your presenters will be saying “and we’ll be right back after these messages!!!”
To find people to host the shows, look at your salespeople, they’re the ones who’ve got experience at communicating one-to-one. Once they get over their camera shyness if they have any they’re still selling and speaking to one person, i.e., the camera. And so, they would be my first choice. If not, advertise for a contract presenter.
As I mentioned, we’ll set up all the kit you need to start streaming. Once we’re done, it’s a simple one-touch-button to go live on multiple channels at the same time and we’d set up the whole show from start to finish including all the graphics and titles.
Looking now at the more practical elements of building your audience, just email your database every week to promote your show tell them what’s planned and what happened the previous week. That’s it.
If you don’t have enough contacts, buy a 10,000-name email list. I say 10,000 because it is widely known that 1% of your targeted ‘vertical’ market are looking for your type of product at any one time. That means, with a 10k database, 100 people every week will be looking.
Upload the new email database to your CRM, whether it’s salesforce, Dynamics, Zoho or whatever, and upload it to LinkedIn as well. Then set up a pay-per-click campaign so you appear on their newsfeeds and as I said email them once a week about the live stream, it’s as simple as that.
Also, start thinking about setting up a studio at your offices, especially if there’s some additional space available because of the work-from-home situation. As far as the set up is concerned, leave it to us, we’ll take care of everything, from cameras to lighting, green screen and so on.
Once we’re done it will be the Adverts that sells the Live Shows and Content that sells the Products, that enables your prospects to buy from you online without any direct intervention from salespeople.
And there you have it. The deep dive on restructuring B2B marketing. Or was it the Alternative B2B Marketing Strategy. Never mind Now you know everything you need to know about changing your business to a Digital Selling operation.
So, what’s your next step, what’s the all-important call-to-action? Well, to begin with, I would suggest you review what you’ve already got and see what can be categorised, edited and also what could be transposed to make a good video or podcast.
Of course, I’d be delighted if you picked up the phone or emailed me to help get you set up. But the main thing is that you now have a clear understanding of how marketing needs to be structured to the extent you can confidently instruct your team to execute your methodical strategy enabling you to get on with your job as director.
Oh! There is one more thing. There’s also the transformation plan. I created an outline recommendation that makes changes to the internal management structure of IT, Sales & Marketing, specifically in relation to the fact that /if your business is set to become a self-service operation, it makes sense that a few changes would need to be made internally too. This also has an impact of reducing your operating costs because of the shift in activities of various personnel.
It’s probably time for a break and a coffee, so I’ll see you in the next one.
I’ve put a link in the description
Bye for now.