How Marketing Is Losing You Deals You Should Be Winning

In this episode of Essential B2B, Joe is joined by Matthew Jantjies- Green, Head of Agency Partnerships at AccountInsight, to discuss how to increase your share of mind with target accounts, how to stand out in a crowded market, and how to close deals more effectively. They start with the biggest mistake B2B companies make and how to rectify it! Enjoy!

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Joe: Hello and welcome to the Essential B2B podcast, brought to you as ever by Lead Forensics. I am your host, Joe Ducarreaux.   This episode of the Essential B2B podcast is the audio from our recent webinar How Marketing is Losing You Deals You Should Be Winning and How to Fix It. 

For this I was joined by Matthew Jantjies-Green, Head of Agency Insights at AccountInsight.  We dive into why assuming having a great service or product is flawed and discuss the importance of brand awareness in closing deals.  

So without further ado, here is Matthew Jantjies-Green on winning back those deals.  

Joe:  Matthew, let’s jump straight into this discussion.  What is the biggest mistake in B2B marketing that companies make, do you think?

Matthew:  I think that B2B marketing is constantly evolving and changing with new tactics coming out.  At the moment intent is a massive topic, it’s very on trend.  There are tons of intent tools out there that can tell which companies, which accounts are most interested in your product or service.  

A mistake that a lot of companies are making at the moment is that they are taking this intent information and they are focusing all of their efforts on the companies that are allegedly most interested in their product and forgetting about all of the ones that are not ready to buy yet.    I’m sure we will get into later as to exactly why that’s a mistake but that’s a big mistake that’s being made at the moment.  

Joe:  To that end then, how should intent be used in marketing?

Matthew:  Intent is very valuable so let me just start there and not say I’m saying don’t use intent.  Intent is great, intent is wonderful.  But don’t forget about the people who aren’t showing intent yet.  Basically, what studies have shown is if you have your total list of companies that you wish were clients of yours.  So let’s say you’ve got 100 companies,  making it nice and simple.  Only 10% of those companies are even considering moving over to a new product or service or solution that could be the one that you offer.  But the other 90% should not be forgotten.    

Essentially when a company is choosing a new provider or a new solution, what they will do is sit down and they will make a list of potential options to choose from. So they will be like who are the top 3 providers for the solution that we are looking for that we know of.  They will make this list off of the top of their heads.  Then they will go away and they will do some research and they will look at, okay these are the companies we know about, who are their competitors, what other companies offer similar solutions and they will come to a list of about 10.  So the list starts with about 3, then it expands to about 10 and then they start to compare all of these 10 to see which one will best meet their needs.  Almost 100% of the time the company that gets chosen is one of the 3 that we called up off the top of their head at the beginning of the conversation.  

So if you are targeting companies that are ready to purchase and forgetting about the ones that aren’t you are already too late.  If you are not one of those three that come to mind immediately then your competitors have already got in there.  

Joe: Got you!  What tactics can you employ to try and boost your chances of being in those top three?  

Matthew:  What we typically do as what I call a standard campaign.  Obviously, there are different requirements for different clients and different industries that can make things quite complex but if you boil it down to its simplest form.  What I would recommend is that you have our list of accounts, the companies that you want to target and you target all of them at once.    Then you monitor and identify their intent from there.  You will see which companies are clicking on your ads, which companies are visiting your website, which companies are consuming content about your brand or about your type of product.  Then shift those companies into a separate campaign that you can perhaps have a stronger call to action, maybe focus on a specific product they have shown interest in.  But don’t forget about the ones that aren’t ready yet.   

So you have two campaigns running alongside each other; the one where you target everybody so when they get to the point of making a decision or start to investigate to make a decision, you are one of the first ones that come to mind.   Once you’ve come to mind, you start targeting them with  more impressions.  Get your brand out there in a stronger way.  Then you’ll have the edge over your competition.

Joe:  As you mentioned brand awareness campaigns and that sort of thing, getting your name out there.  What exactly do we mean by a generic brand awareness campaign and how can that help increase your share of mind?  

Matthew:  It also depends on the budget that you have at your disposal.  Let’s take the simplest form which is also typically the most affordable form.  That could be a brand awareness campaign where you just want to get your logo out there, get your company name out there, get a good idea of what your value proposition is out there.  It has to be clear what you actually offer so it can’t be too broad.  It can’t be just your logo on a solid background.  You need to give some sort of insight so that when the companies you’re targeting are thinking about the types of solutions your company offers, your name comes to mind.    So it’s got to be a little bit informative, mostly brand but you don’t have to have too strong a call to action.  You can have a call to action but you mainly want to be seen rather than generate clicks or things like that.  That’s a secondary benefit.    

Once you have identified the companies or accounts you want to target more strongly, you can then put a stronger call to action in.  If you have the budget you could identify which companies are interested in which products.  If you have five products, have five separate campaigns, one for each product and so you are tailoring your advertising to the needs of the companies that you want to get onboard. 

Joe:  You mentioned there the case of having some budget behind it.  Are there any tactics you can recommend that require zero budget? 

Matthew:  Not really off of the top of my head.  Even attending conferences costs something.   You could do some Linkedin outreach, social media if it’s just yourself managing it.   Linkedin is good because you can target specific companies, you can target specific job titles.  But even with that you would typically need a Sales Navigator licence which does cost you something.  It’s worth it but there is a cost involved there. 

Joe:  Perhaps using things like this webinar, these podcasts that we do, perhaps that’s away.

Matthew: Yeah.

Joe:  I’m glad I can bring something to the conversation in that way, Matthew.   How can contextual targeting be used to reach the right people in each target account? 

Matthew:  This is particularly interesting in terms of EMEA because obviously throughout Europe you’ve got GDPR, which doesn’t allow any cookies.  So you can’t target specific job titles at least through programmatic advertising.  You can do that kind of thing on Linkedin but not so much with display.   What we are recommending is that if your product is IT focused you can then use keywords.  

Contextual marketing, just to give some background to people who may not be aware.  Contextual targeting means you have a selection of keywords and you want to make sure that your banners and ads appear next to content that includes those keywords.  So if you have a cybersecurity product you want it to appear next to content that’s about cyberthreats or maybe ransomware or things like that.  You can use keywords to target your ads next to content that makes sense.  

A strong marketing rule is that you have to have a strong flow of messaging from the ad to the landing page to the conversion.  Every single step needs to follow the same theme.  If you put your banner next to an article that is relevant to the banner you are joining the conversation rather than disrupting the conversation.    

Contextual targeting is also a great way to narrowly focus specific people within a company.  It’s more of an art than a science, you can’t guarantee you will be targeting only IT professionals.  You could find that the receptionist really enjoys reading about cybersecurity or computer viruses.  So you can’t exclude them but it does narrow it down.  What you can do is for the brand awareness campaign, you can use contextual targeting to limit the number of impressions that you are delivering to those companies which makes it a little bit more affordable.   

Once you know the IT department within this company is interested in this product, now it’s time to reach out and target the finance team who is actually going to sign off on the budget, the CEO who has to have buy in, the people who are going to be using the product, in fact the entire buying unit. 

So you start off with a very narrow contextual campaign and then once they show intent you go broader and you target everybody who could influence the decision.

Joe:  To go back to something you were saying early Matthew.  It occurs to be if you’ve got the percentage of people who are showing intent and you’ve got a small number of those people but then you are ignoring the 90% who aren’t showing intent.  Presumably it would be easier to personalise the messaging to those people you are aware of rather than the 90% who you’re not necessarily aware of.  Because there is going to be a lack of personalisation if you are casting a wide net, is that going to affect the outcome in any particular way, for the better, for the worse, do you think?

Matthew:  Typically it doesn’t have as good an engagement rate as the ones that you are targeting specifically.  It could be that instead of targeting all of your accounts at once what you could perhaps think of doing is targeting one industry at a time.  That way you can still target a large number of accounts but you can tailor the messaging more specifically to that industry.   Maybe choose an industry that has the highest revenue when you actually close the deals and focus on them first.   Obviously the more tailored your marketing is the more successful it will be. 

You could add a third campaign to that.  You could have a very broad campaign where it is just about getting your brand out there so that people recognise your logo, your brand colours, things like that.   Then have an industry specific campaign that talks about the pain points, it doesn’t even need to talk about your products, it could just be about the pain points that that industry typically suffers from.  Then you have your third campaign, these are the ones in that industry that are really ready. Let’s go for it.  

If you have a lot of money, you could target each individual company with specific messaging.  That’s getting quite not technical but it becomes a lot of work if you are targeting 20 companies and you want to target each of them with separate messaging.  It’s possible but you have to have the manpower, the time, the budget to give it the amount of effort and thought that it deserves.  

Joe:  It’s possible but you might have to sacrifice something like sleep or something like that.  

Matthew:  For a company like ourselves we would have to sacrifice sleep.  Our clients have to sacrifice the money.

Joe:  If you are wanting to find out how you’re getting on, if you’re improving, what are the key metrics you should be focusing on?

Matthew:  I would say the key metrics, the click through rate is quite an important one.  I suppose engagement.  Engagement is the key metric because you could be getting your message out there, you could be getting your brand in front of the different clients but if they are not engaging with your brand then not what’s the point because brand awareness has value in itself but when they start to interact with you that’s when you can start tracking that.   

If you have your standard campaign that is typical brand awareness there will be a lower click through rate, a lower engagement.  Then as you move them up the funnel or as they show more interest the click through rate should increase because the message should resonate with them more.

Something I would have to say is the key metric would be sales.  It would be how many deals have you actually closed.   We ran a campaign recently where they were targeting one company but across ten different countries.  The objective of the campaign was to get enquiry forms completed.  Throughout the campaign absolutely zero forms got completed, you would immediately think that’s a failure and that campaign didn’t do well at all.  However, they got three calls from procurement in three different countries for this account.   So they essentially closed three deals.  Typically the strategy for enterprise products, if you just get one sale you’ve more than covered your investment.  It boils down to sales or what you get out of it in the end.  

Bearing in mind account based advertising doesn’t work in a silo.  It doesn’t work on its own, it doesn’t work in isolation.  What it does is support all your other initiatives.  So if you’ve got intent, if you’ve got all of this information, so if you say okay these are the top ten accounts that are showing interest, hand that over to the sales team.  The sales team can then start with their own tactics. They can maybe visit this company and set up a demo or things like that.  What account based advertising does, yes, it builds brand awareness but it also gives you a lot of intelligence and a lot of information you can use for your other channels, for the sales team and in many, many different ways.  

Joe: Matthew I want to ask you something about….. regular Essential B2B viewers and listeners might not be surprised I’m going to ask you this but I am absolutely fascinated with AI.  Is there an application for AI when we are considering intent or is it not necessarily so relevant in this area we’re discussing today? 

Matthew:  It’s not relevant yet but I would say that AI is going to revolutionise everything.  Our system itself has a very complex algorithm behind it but it’s not a ChatGPT type of AI.  But I would certainly say just off the top of my heading thinking to the future, you could have a system that gets developed that can identify intent automatically, tailor ads based on the keywords being used.  Perhaps it would even get down to the point where it would tailor the messaging for specific accounts based on their activity before….it’s just like, well I would be out of a job but

Joe:  It’s increasing what I’m hearing that people are worrying about.  

Matthew:  I don’t think we are anywhere near that yet but I do think that as AI becomes more acceptable and more advanced, certainly these types of functionality and things probably will end up there.  

Joe:  I realise I took us off on a slight tangent there but I’m asking everybody I possibly can about AI because I find it fascinating.  What are some strategies for identifying companies mostly like to be in market and then how can they be targeted in a more strategic campaign?

Matthew:  Like I was mentioned before, there are various elements when determining intent.  Typically what we would look at is the number of clicks that are happening on a company’s ads, the number of web visits of a specific company there’s clearly an intent there. Then also what content they are consuming online.  So if they are reading about your competitors or keywords that are related to your industry or your products that shows a level of intent.  The more keywords, the more relevant content that’s consumed, the more likely they are to be doing research.  You would have a campaign analysing all of this data and then ranking the different accounts, the different companies in order of mostly likely to least likely to be interested.  

Then you funnel them into a separate campaign with a stronger call to action perhaps tailored to the content they are consuming, the web pages they have visited.   For example, I think this is a good way of showing what account based advertising can do.  It can work with Google retargeting or Linkedin retargeting or Facebook retargeting where you get the account based advertising to drive the traffic to your website and then companies that visit specific pages on a specific product you can then retarget with ads on other platforms.  

So it’s essentially retargeting, focusing your messaging, stronger call to action, maybe it’s ‘book a demo’.  So for your original campaign it could be about ‘learn more’, ‘read this interesting article’, things like that.   But then once they have shown intent it’s more about ‘booking a demo’, ‘chat to an expert’, ‘attend a webinar’, things like that.   Which can then move them further down the funnel.  

Joe: That was a very postmodern moment we had there Matthew, where we’re on a webinar and then saying come to a webinar.  Matthew, if there’s one key lesson that you would like everyone to take away from this discussion that we’ve had this afternoon, what would that one key piece of advice be?

Matthew:  Don’t forget about the companies that aren’t ready for you yet.  

Joe:  Absolutely.  I suppose if it is that 90% margin we were estimating that’s still quite a lot of people.  

Matthew: That 90% is likely to become the 10% at some point.  By the time they become that 10% you want them to already be thinking about you, know who you are and think you are wonderful and be excited to work with you.  

Joe:  Fantastic stuff.  Matthew Jantjies-Green so much for joining us for this Essential B2B webinar.  Thank you to everybody who is watching this for watching and do keep an eye on Lead Forensics socials for details of our next webinar.  We will see you very, very soon.  Thank you again Matthew.  

Matthew:  No problem, thank you. 

Well there you go, Matthew Jantjies-Green on winning back deals.   Thank You very much to Matthew for joining me and thank you for listening.  Remember to subscribe to the Essential B2B podcast and give us a 5 star rating where possible. I will be back next week with another episode of the Essential B2B podcast.