On 21st and 22nd March, we exhibited at the B2B Marketing and Sales Innovation Expo at London ExCel. As expected, the show was jam-packed with industry-leading experts, showcasing the current and future of the sales and marketing industry and we even had the opportunity to not only exhibit, but we also hosted two speaking slots across the two days of the event.
The first day was a buzz of excitement and we used our time there as an opportunity to listen to some very insightful sessions and innovative keynote speakers. Read on to find out some of the most important themes for 2018 and beyond that we’ve highlighted.
Personalisation is Key
One of the biggest themes that we noticed at the event was around personalisation. As inbound marketers ourselves, we understand the vital importance of analysing user insights and data to drive how we personalise our services to our clients and prospects. Simply having the ability to personalise your online content is fundamental to a successful strategy.
For example, a survey showed that emails with a personalised message had an open rate of 17.6%, compared to 11.4% when sent without any personalisation.
As the theme of personalisation is continuing to hold steadfast, more businesses are beginning to utilise in strengthening their sales and marketing strategies, and it’s no wonder that walking around the expo, many stands were sharing the same story.
Video is the Future
Everyone knows that video marketing is the future of content and we’re beginning to see more in our day-to-day lives. Google, for instance have been displaying video content from YouTube in the search results and there are new video platforms emerging as a result of consumer demands for the “next best thing”.
One session that particularly stood out was Eleanor Sims from StoryMe on ‘Squeezing Video into Your Everyday Marketing Strategy’. What was refreshing about her talk was that, yes, everyone DOES know that 2018 is the year of video. However, she focused on how marketers and even salespeople can challenge themselves to create sustainable video content - even by using your smartphone - that can compliment their existing content. This way, video content is easier to manage and less restrictive on budget. She also shared some fresh ideas and tips of using videos in place of traditional content such as:
- Sending a short video instead of an email to a prospect
- Including a video on website pages such as a contact page
- Encouraging user-generated videos from employees
- Using videos to answer FAQs and technical issues
Eleanor also touched on the fact that, just like written content, video content needs to have a solid, planned strategy which should include:
- Video Plan: Thinking about creating the right content for the right audience
- Production: Thinking about the right channels to use, the format of the video and tools that you may use
- Distribution: Choosing the right attention-grabbing thumbnails in order to be impactful, distributing your videos at optimal times and defining metrics to measure their performance
Additionally, another seminar ‘The State of Online Video 2017. What Works, Engages & Converts in 2018?’ held by TwentyThree by Todd Patton, gave more direction on better ways to measure video performance other than looking at views and plays and instead, look at:
- How did they engage?
- How long the video was watched, where did people drop off?
- What did people do next?
- Can you put a form at the end of the video to increase conversions?
Transforming your processes
Sharen Murnaghan at HubSpot was one of this year’s keynote speakers. Her session was insightful look into how businesses can transform their sales process to achieve their goals using three actional items:
1. “Be the change you want to be”
Sharen shared a personal anecdote about her time selling Yellow Papers (hands up who remembers those?) using the traditional outbound sales methods - i.e. cold calling. She explained that one day, it hit her that this was not the way to go anymore as she has recognised the shift where buyers have the power. Sharen reinvented herself, began night classes at her local college and learned to transform her way of thinking about sales.
2. “Build on top of the process”
Salespeople need to become more buyer-centric, it’s not about trying to sell to people anymore - but rather, understanding that you want the buyer to be ready to buy from you. Sharen stressed that salespeople need to change their thinking from “always be closing” to “always be helping”.
3. “Really care”
The final actionable item was to really care about, not only your customers, but your colleagues and your company too. Investing yourself in all of these aspects can help you reap the rewards later.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to attend all the sessions that we talked about in our previous highlights blog, but we gained some in-depth insights into some of the emerging themes around the event as well themes that are still going strong.
If you attended this year’s event, let us know in the comments what you thought about the event and which talk you found most useful in transforming your sales and marketing strategy for 2018.
Keep your eyes peeled for part two where we’ll talk about the highlights from day two of the event - you can subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss it.
If you didn’t attend this year, we hope we gave you a taste of what you might have experienced. We don’t want you feeling left out, though. We have a free digital marketing pack on offer for you, packed full of amazing insights and learnings which includes:
- A beginners guide to digital marketing
- An interactive digital marketing planner
- B2B website brief template
Download your free pack today to kickstart your digital marketing journey!