The B2B sector is undergoing a seismic shift as digitalization continues to reshape traditional business practices. Gone are the days of relying only on in-person interactions, trade shows and word-of-mouth for generating demand: B2B companies must transition definitively into the digital realm.
The convergence of B2B and B2C expectations is a driving force behind this revolution. B2B consumers now expect the same level of quality and convenience in their business transactions as in their personal purchases. Procurement areas demand higher levels of personalization and improved real-time value-added service.
As businesses adapt to these changing market dynamics, the adoption of more advanced and data-driven B2B digital marketing strategies has become essential for growth. In fact, Forrester’s reports that B2B digital aggregated marketing investments are growing at a rate of 48% in 2023.
In this context, martech platforms and data analytics capacities, as well as AI technologies, have made it easier for B2B marketers to conquer new customers, maximising customer lifetime value, levels of satisfaction and RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary Value) models.
From assessing a prospect’s likelihood to become a client and estimate their potential lifetime value, to recommending next steps and pricing models based on prospect preferences, to sentiment analysis for understanding customer behaviour, these tools can help B2B marketers navigate an increasingly competitive environment.
However, it’s essential to have the right set of marketing technology tools. And the decision is not a straightforward one: there are over 11,000 tools and technologies available.
To adopt the right technologies, B2B marketers must take a holistic approach that focuses on account-based marketing management with a more detailed analysis of the B2B journey and buyer persona. Let’s take a look at how.
A well-balanced martech stack throughout the funnel.
According to Gartner CMO Surveys and Martech.org, expenditure in martech within the total marketing expense budget has grown by 30% vs last year. A figure that is likely to increase as B2B businesses evolve their digital marketing roadmap, which will require new innovative solutions that integrate well with each other throughout the marketing funnel to maximise productivity and ROI.
For example, an advanced data-driven approach supported by strong measurement capabilities will be crucial for the success of your B2B digital roadmap, from the implementation of advanced marketing automation strategies, to the initiation of employee advocacy and influencer marketing tactics, conversion rate optimization (CRO) or UX improvement.
To maximise ROI, your martech stack should facilitate the automation and improvement of your marketing management throughout the funnel.
With less in-person events to generate brand notoriety, your focus should be on connecting with prospects through useful, relevant and shareable content. Moreover, mapping and understanding all the relevant stakeholders of the B2B journey, identifying key opinion leaders, will be key to be able to provide a successful digital experience.
For such purposes, your digitalisation efforts should focus on:
- Social Listening & Analytics: Track the online conversations of your prospects and customers globally and understand their needs. Focus on the procurement and user pain points.
- Content Management Systems (CMS): Create and modify digital content effectively.
- Search Engine Optimization & Web Analytics: Use solid SEO strategies to attract the right audience via search engines and use web analytics to understand and optimise advertising ROI.
In this phase, the primary challenge is to fill the funnel with quality, high scoring prospects and to nurture leads. Content should convey your unique value proposition by focusing on the benefits of your products and services and how they can help solve their needs.
Thus, you should ensure your company is utilising email & marketing automation effectively, as it is one of the most effective channels for B2B purposes. Approximately 85% of B2B marketers work with some form of email marketing software ─making it the second most-used type of tool, behind analytics software (86%). Email and marketing automation tools will allow you to personalise responses and automate repetitive communications.
Additionally, investing in the training of your sales team, so they can leverage on the potential of social selling will also be key at this stage.
At this stage, your strategy should focus mostly on selling and solving the final needs of the procurement department, defining interactions and content that will help your future customer in the decision-making process.
Adopt a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that enhances your marketing automation strategies. The selected platform must work well for first conversion and lifetime value purposes. The CRM and marketing automation platform must have advanced data and customer interaction insights to help your company drive sales growth and improve customer experience over time. Only focusing on first conversions of prospects is a typical mistake.
4. Loyalty and Advocacy.
As mentioned above, optimising lifetime value should be a top priority in your transition towards B2B digitalization. Thus, the loyalty and advocacy stage can’t be taken for granted: marketers must conquer clients not once, but multiple times, through excellent customer experience. In this phase, martech efforts should focus on the following:
- Advanced marketing automation, with predefined processes and interactions based on insights and customer behaviours that enable personalised experienced at scale.
- Personalised performance marketing strategies, delivering targeted messages based on specific audience variables or previous session interactions with your website or content.
- Optimising social media management tools. Social media insights help companies understand their customers’ needs and pain points, and represent the perfect context for generating relevant conversations and fostering true engagement.
- Leveraging on your employees’ voice to increase your brand’s credibility, for which an advocacy platform will be key.
How to choose the best tools for your brand?
At this point, you may be wondering… are they not going to name specific tools? Well, the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The right tool for your B2B business will depend not only on the issue you are trying to solve, but also on your team’s current capabilities to implement and maintain it, on how easy it integrates with your current stack, etc.
That’s why at Good Rebels we are platform-agnostic, meaning we guide our clients through the process of tool selection, analysing the different alternatives available in the market to find the one that best fits their needs, integrating strategic vision, business acumen and technical knowledge.
Together, we try to answer the following questions:
- Which funnel stage is most critical for the company at the moment?
- What are your performance issues?
- Which digital activities need more automation?
- In this context, which martech solutions have the highest priority? For what purposes?
- Will this tool help you optimise your ROI?
- Is the martech easy to implement and does it provide great value for money?
- Does the martech vendor have excellent customer service?
- Is this technology easy to integrate with our current stack?
- How easy is it to use the tool?
- Does this martech technology innovate often? What is their development roadmap?
Once this consultancy phase concludes and we have identified the best tools for our client’s needs, we can further support them on the implementation, as well as on the execution of their digital marketing strategies, optimising workflows and allowing for a quicker, more agile transition towards digitalization.
Kick-start the digital transformation of your B2B business today.
The rise of digitalisation is challenging traditional channels, and similar to the impactful rise of direct-to-consumer trends in 2020, Gartner predicts that 80% of interactions between buyers and sellers will happen online by 2025.
Hence elevating your company’s digital B2B marketing excellence using advanced martech tools is a crucial milestone. Starting today with a more professional B2B marketing approach is your first decision.
In Good Rebels, we work across the entire digital consumer journey, to provide 360º digital experiences that connect brands, people and technology. We understand the needs of the new B2B consumer, and are ready to help you boost your B2B business’ performance across the funnel, developing deeper connections with your prospects and customers to boost ROI and CLV.