Marketers are juggling lots of balls at any one time and there are many challenges that will need to be overcome. Here are some of the most common issues faced by B2B marketers, as well as advice on how to overcome them:
One of the biggest challenges faced by B2B marketers is generating enough of the right type of traffic to their website, as having the best content in the world is meaningless if no one sees it.
There are loads of ways to generate traffic and the effectiveness of each approach will vary, depending on the niche area the business is operating in. For a comprehensive guide on how to generate traffic, check out our B2B Guide to Turbo-Charged Lead Generation.
From SMEs to multinational corporations, one of the top problems remains: ‘How can I prove to internal stakeholders that what I’m doing is actually working?’.
If you can’t prove that you’re generating a positive return on investment, then you’re unlikely to be able to secure more budget in the future.
Clearly defined end goals need to be agreed right at the start of the process. It’s important to manage expectations at this point and set realistic goals, especially while campaigns are being established and are gaining traction. Once you have agreed on them, you can track these goals and use the data to see which campaigns are performing most effectively.
Unlike sales teams, who have clear-cut figures and targets to hit (for example, securing X number of sales per month / landing business worth £X per quarter) measuring return on investment from marketing can be exceedingly difficult.
If a potential prospect sees an advert, blog post or any other piece of content, and converts at a later date, you played a vital role in generating that lead and the subsequent revenue. The problem comes in being able to attribute that lead to a specific channel.
The secret here is to use analytics to track exactly where a customer has come from and the journey they have taken. For extra help on planning and managing ROI, download our free Digital Marketing ROI Forecaster for B2B Marketers.
If your website reads like it was written by a robot, no-one is going to engage with the content. It’s as simple as that. To be successful in B2B sales, it’s important to form and retain connections with potential clients, and your website should sit at the heart of that. It will often be one of the first points of contact that a prospect has with your company and should effectively be working like an extra member of the team.
If your website is full of jargon, difficult to read and hard to ‘get’ then that will say something about you as a company. It is the equivalent of getting a call from a sales rep who is reading robotically from a script. No connection will be made and no relationship started. The customer is likely to get bored and look elsewhere.
The answer is to think about the user experience you are providing and to humanise your messages. Also write directly for the target reader you are aiming to address, not for search engines.
Turn each interaction into a one-on-one session and you’ll be well on your way to forming those first vital connections with potential leads. That isn’t to say you can’t have a professional or more formal tone to your copy. Many B2B businesses find a balance of the two – being both professional and accessible. You can be formal without sounding soulless.
Customising content for each stage of the buyer’s journey
Content marketing is a core tool in the inbound armoury, but often not enough thought is put into where along the buyer journey each piece is aiming, and what its purpose will be.
Far from just writing a load of content and seeing what happens, you need a strategy. Each piece needs to be carefully tailored to its intended audience, both in terms of tone and what stage of the sales pipeline they are currently at.
Someone at the beginning of the sales process, who’s just beginning to research a problem they have, will want very different information to someone towards the end of the journey, who will be after more detailed, technical information and examples of the solutions in action.
If you have an existing library of content, begin by performing an audit to identify exactly what exists for each buyer persona at each stage of the buyer journey. You may be surprised by the scale of the gaps this activity flags up for you.
To find out exactly how to tailor content to each stage of the buyer journey, download our free Content Mapping Template.
The hard work doesn’t end after you’ve completed an audit and filled in any gaps in your content library. To ensure the maximum effectiveness of any content you create, you need to be constantly assessing, managing and updating what you have.
Any content created needs to be held in a central location, so everyone can get the full use and benefit of it. Sales teams need to know exactly what resources are available and to have easy access to them. Also think about ways your existing content could be repurposed, to ensure you are making the maximum impact from all your efforts. For example, your content can cross both the online and offline marketing fields if you print off a version of your key content for use at any events you are attending.
Look at your content and ask yourself these key questions:
- Can your sales and marketing teams quickly find the content and resources they need?
- Is the information in your content library completely up to date?
- Have you covered each stage of the buyer’s journey, for each of your buyer personas?
If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, then it’s time to focus on your Digital Asset Management (DAM).
Integration of technology
Having the right tools for the job can make all the difference for any company, but buying in the wrong software, or implementing it poorly, can be a costly mistake. The first step when purchasing new technology should always be to research how it might benefit your business and teams.
Speak to the staff on the ground who will actually be using the tools before you make a purchasing decision. Ask them – do the features sound useful? Will the kit save them time and effort (and therefore money for the business)?
Once you’ve chosen the right digital tools for your business, you need to make sure your entire team can use them confidently. Training is key for both sales and marketing teams as it doesn’t matter how good your tools are if no one knows what they can do and how best to use them. Ensuring your teams are comprehensively trained will help you reap the full benefit of the tools and will also help you overcome any potential resistance you may face.
Aligning sales & marketing
A constant problem for nearly all businesses, and one we’ve touched on already within this guide, is how to get your sales and marketing teams working together as one well-oiled machine.
Well-aligned sales and marketing teams can make a huge difference to the smooth running of your business, as well as driving greatly increased revenue. To see exactly how to achieve this, read our blog: Smarketing: How to align your sales and marketing teams.
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