That’s it - 2019 is over. As we move into the new year, some of us are feeling dissatisfied, sluggish or stuck in a rut when it comes to our B2B marketing strategy. After the excitement of the festive period and the inevitable lull of January, it can be difficult for businesses to feel inspired, and they fall back into old habits after promising to make changes.
But not anymore.
This year, we want to help you make small, manageable changes that will optimise your marketing strategy for the new year; which is why we’ve listed our top 6 tips for a healthier B2B strategy in 2020: from how to better manage your time to how to track your progress.
1. Stop consuming time, start managing it
Time management is one of the highest requirements for salespeople to succeed, however it's also one of the trickiest skills to master. Studies show that nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of reps’ time, on average, is spent in non revenue-generating activities, leaving only a measly third of their day to spend on doing their actual job - selling your product or service.
Luckily, there is a solution to this extremely common problem: automation.
With a customer relationship management system (CRM) you significantly reduce the lengthy manual administrative process through automation. Salespeople can generate quotes in seconds, assign tasks to different sales reps, rotate leads amongst the team and automatically send follow up emails to prospects.
Implementing a CRM into your business won’t just dramatically reduce the amount of time everyone in your business spends on administrative processes, but it will significantly increase the amount of leads you are able to generate when time isn’t being wasted.
2. Say goodbye to blog posts and hello to video
While longer blog posts do have their place in your wider content marketing strategy, writing too many of them can be detrimental to your overall goals - especially if they aren’t engaging. If your company is spending a lot of time creating long blog posts about one topic and it doesn’t generate any interest - was it really worth it?
We don’t recommend removing long-form content from your marketing strategy altogether, however, we suggest only using it where the time and resources needed to produce it is worthwhile. For example, if you have topics that are difficult to explain without thousands of words, why not simplify it for yourself and your customers by creating a video?
Many B2B companies underestimate the power of using video in their digital marketing strategy, mainly because they may not think it’s relevant for their industry or believe that creating video is too expensive. Both of these assumptions are wrong.
When 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos, you can’t afford to ignore the potential video has to drive business. However, if you aren't using video just yet, thankfully, there are a number of ways you can incorporate it into your B2B marketing strategy with minimal effort required, including:
- Product / Service tutorials or demonstrations
When 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, videos that demonstrate how your product/service works are a great way to drive more customer engagement.
- “Culture” videos
These are videos that offer your customers an insight into the day-to-day running of your business; you could include employee interviews, company events or even “behind the scenes” exclusive tours of your workplace. These kinds of videos help give your company a voice and a personality behind business, and are great at driving customer engagement and loyalty.
Not taking advantage of video in 2020 is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes a business will make - don’t let this be you. Be sure to incorporate at least some elements of video into your digital marketing strategy, and see the results for yourself - we guarantee that it will be worth your time.
3. Don’t cut out email - it’s still good for your business
Every now and again, the digital and tech industry proclaims that email is a “dead” marketing strategy and that it isn’t worth investing much of our time into anymore - this is completely wrong (to see why we fiercely believe this, check out our blog).
Over half of the planet is using email right now. Billions of emails have been sent in the few seconds you’ve spent reading this sentence.
So, what does this mean?
It means that email is still the most common form of communication, especially among office workers who use email every single day. This means that now more than ever, you need to be optimising your email marketing strategy, and updating it as we move into 2020.
Not sure how you can enhance your email strategy for the new year? Luckily, we wrote a blog about it - have a read to see where you could be going wrong, and how to fix it.
4. Stop cold calls, start conversations
Social media networking is one of the best ways to generate leads, build your brand and begin conversations with your prospects. When it comes to B2B sales, no social platform does this better than LinkedIn, which has surpassed even Twitter as the go-to network for sharing ideas with like-minded people.
This makes sense - not only is it easier to find someone’s LinkedIn profile than their phone number or email address (salespeople only have to add someone to their network to get this information), but when you message a prospect on the platform it feels a lot less invasive than calling them out of the blue - which is a much better way to initiate conversation.
On top of this, several LinkedIn features allow you to establish your business as a thought leader within your particular industry, such as publishing content, joining groups and participating in discussions. More than 50% of all B2B social traffic now comes via LinkedIn, with the platform being rated as the number one channel for distributing content. For both salespeople and marketers, LinkedIn is the place to be for maximising your lead generation, building business credibility and starting conversations with your prospects.
5. Say no to bad on-page SEO
2019 saw various Google Algorithm updates such as BERT, that focused less on traditional SEO tactics in favour of quality content, meaning that content is still key when it comes to on page SEO. That being said, many B2B organisations are still using SEO content tactics that are harming their overall marketing strategy, such as:
- Only using one target keyword
Back in the old days of SEO, it was common for businesses to use one keyword per page throughout their website - but this tactic no longer works. While search engines still determine the quality of your website page and its content based on the target keyword, they also take into consideration related terms, keyword variations and LSI keywords.
However, many B2B companies are still making the mistake of trying to rank highly by focusing on one specific keyword. To avoid this, focus on finding topically relevant keywords, by using your target keyword as a starting point and performing keyword research to find relevant synonyms. Find out how to do this here.
- Prioritising quantity instead of quality
In an online world where your content can get lost amongst the competition, it can be tempting for businesses to publish lots of content in the hope that at least some of it gets seen by potential customers. While it's still true that Google values volume and consistency, it values quality more.
What Google deems the “highest quality pages” are the ones that are created to serve a beneficial purpose and achieve this purpose very well. Therefore, your content needs to be better than everything else out there, but it also needs to be posted consistently.
It can be hard to find a balance between quality and quantity, so we recommend you try and find a happy medium; when it feels like you’re sacrificing quality in order to publish more - you’re doing too much. Even posting high-quality content consistently once every couple of weeks is better than posting bad content every other day, so however often you publish, ensure that what you’re putting out there is high quality.
- Duplicate content
Some studies claim that 29% of content online is duplicated, a surprising figure that shows that many businesses are still making this mistake even in 2020. However, not all businesses are aware that they’re doing it; duplicate content doesn’t just refer to stolen content, and many businesses face issues such as their CMS creating multiple versions of the same web page, or incorrect redirects which show two varieties of each page without them realising. While Google won’t penalise you for this, you will not rank as highly as you possibly could with “original” content.
To avoid duplicate content, we recommend conducting a website audit to make sure that everything on your site is in good working order, and that your on-page SEO is optimised for Google.
6. Stop counting simple metrics, track those KPI’s!
How do you expect to perfect your B2B marketing strategy if you aren’t tracking your results?
Simply keeping track of your page views and click-through rates is no longer enough - although they may sound impressive in quarterly or end of year reviews, they aren’t really giving you a clear indication of ROI, or highlighting areas that need improvement.
This is especially true when it comes to sales metrics, and businesses need to start tracking KPIs to see just how well their sales team is performing. Using marketing analytics tools such as Google Analytics or HubSpot, you can dig deeper into them in order to get a full view - but what exact KPI’s do you need to be measuring?
- Sales growth
Depending upon your industry, the average rates of growth will vary, and of course external factors will have to be taken into consideration, however sales growth metrics give you an insight into anything that is causing issue. By having this KPI in place, you can give your sales team a joint concern - the continued growth of the organisation.
- Sales Closing Ratio
How well and often deals are closed is a good indicator of how well a salesperson is performing, and this Sales KPI measures the amount of sales opportunities versus how many of those were closed. This is an extremely important KPI to track as it shows the closing ability of your team, and leads to higher conversion rates. To see our formula for measuring this KPI, check out our blog.
- Average Conversion Time
This KPI isn’t for monitoring the success of sales staff, but keeping up to date with industry trends. Conversion times can vary depending on many factors; deals can be closed in timescales ranging from minutes to months, and sales cycles often change quickly within a single industry. However, by knowing the length of time that it takes for sales to appear, you can begin to efficiently schedule your pipeline, and keep your Directors up to date with accurate information.
- System Touches
A system touch is regarded as any point at which a prospect has been contacted by one of your salespeople. When measuring this, few system touches indicates that your sales process is running smoothly and efficiently, but a lot of system touches suggests an issue - this could be confusion, or perhaps your salespeople aren’t providing efficiency of service. By monitoring the amount of system touches, you can track the efficiency of your sales team and constantly work to improve.
- Customer Lifetime Value
This refers to how your sales team retain their customers; for example, if a salesperson closes a huge one-off deal, but another salesperson is able to close the same deal annually from the same customer, this has a larger customer lifetime value. By tracking this, you can judge how well your sales team are nurturing their customers.
For more information on how to track KPIs successfully, check out our blog.
This year, we want you to stick to that resolution, and start optimising your B2B marketing strategy to generate leads and retain loyal customers - and we’ve even got the tools to help. Our free Digital Marketing Pack has all the resources you need to execute the top tips we’ve mentioned and more - getting you started on your inbound journey.