Digital Frustration: the thorn in a B2B buyer’s side
B2B marketing in 2022 is different. In a post-pandemic world, the way we do business in B2B has completely changed, and marketers are failing to keep up with the digital demands of their buyers.
Webinar topic detail
The stats are eye watering…
Over 62% of buyers cannot get the information they want via digital means easily
38% find that B2B brands are unresponsive on social media
57% find digital services to be impersonal and slow
The buying journey of B2B customers has completely changed, forever, and digital frustration is on the rise. Marketers are being forced to reassess all their digital touchpoints, and yet pulling an increasingly diverse digital infrastructure into a consistent and coherent online experience, is not an easy feat.
We’re lucky to be joined by some of the best minds in B2B marketing, who have been working to overcome the digital frustration challenge. We welcome you to join us for this panel debate to understand the strategies others are employing to overcome digital frustration, and how they are installing new digital outlets as well as seeking to optimize their existing digital infrastructure.
During this 45 minute session, you will:
Discover what other B2B marketers are doing to reduce digital frustration
Find out why CRO is fundamental, not just on your website
How and why to tackle each touchpoint, separately and yet consistently
How to map your digital infrastructure – and create a plan to optimize
Discover how to identify the digital touchpoints that you don’t even know you have, but are causing frustration to your audiences
From this webinar, you’ll take away actionable tips that will help you to improve your buyer’s digital frustration. Whether you are new to digital marketing or a digital marketing guru, you will be guaranteed to take away some helpful insight.
Get a coffee, settle in and join us for what promises to be a really interesting 45 minute quick fire discussion.
Hello and welcome to this Lead Forensics webinar entitled Digital Frustration; the thorn in a B2B buyer’s side.
My name is Joe Ducarreaux. I am the Brand Awareness Manager for Lead Forensics. I’m joined today by a fantastic panel of guests. We have Carol Howley, Director of Global Marketing at Canonical. We have Tom Armitage, who is a Sales Exec at Site-Seeker. Lilah Waite is joining us from Lead Forensics, she is the Group Chief Marketing Officer and Phil Cave is the Head of CRO at Webeo. We do have a question function in the chat, so if you do come up with a question, pop it in the chat. If there’s time at the end, we will get to it. Not sure we will, because there’s going to be so much to talk about in this webinar.
So let’s jump straight in. OK, so what is your experience of the buying journey associated with B2B from a digital perspective? Have you experienced any frustrations yourself? And I think we’ll start with you, Tom.
Tom: Yeah, so I had a couple of examples here. I’ve often bought B2B software, so that’s probably the best example. But I also was shopping not too long ago for a HVAC system, a new heating system. And I’ve suffered kind of similar issues with some of these companies, some software and some HVAC companies. One issue is when I reach out for information, there’s a massive delay in a response from a salesperson or a customer service rep. And this is mind blowing to me because I work at an agency. We deal with lots of B2B companies and they salivate over leads, like the fact that I’m standing here waving …..I’ve got money, I have a need, come help me. And there’s a two or three day delay. It’s very, very upsetting and very frustrating as a buyer and I try to keep that in mind. I’ve been trying to keep that in mind as I kind of preach this type of information, this type of good word to my clients. And the second is very messy handoffs. If I meet with someone, I give them all this good information of what I’m looking for, specifically and what I’m trying to do, what pain points I have and what I’m trying to solve. And then, you know, the next meeting is with the next salesperson in line or whatever it is that takes place in the handoff and I need to go through all my needs again. Clearly, they have a discombobulated CRM system or they’re not taking proper notes or something’s going on in their handoff that is not smooth and that leads to a lot of frustrations. Those are two examples on my end.
Joe: I have a feeling that communication in that style is going to come up quite a lot in this talk about things that frustrate us. Lilah, let’s come to you with the same question. Any frustrations personally?
Lilah: Yeah, I think that I have to agree with Tom, especially on that time delay. So there was something I read relatively recently which was published in Forbes in terms of B2B software. The average time it takes for a B2B company to come back to a lead is 2.4 days, which is crazy, right? Exactly as Tom was saying, you know, when you’re inquiring about something, you have a need right then and there. You don’t want to wait half a week before someone actually decides that they want to come back to you and you don’t feel valued if it takes that long, either. So I couldn’t agree more. And I think also sometimes it can be the hoops that you have to jump through to actually get to speak to someone who can actually show you a product or a service. Sometimes that can be two or three stages long and I get to a point where I can be fatigued in that process. And just one other thing that I want to touch on was, which I think we’ll come onto this in more detail, but the nature of how buyers and how I inquire about things has completely changed in recent years. And so I might inquire, well I actually inquire a lot via social media, for example. The response times on social media is always horrendous and so that to me is a big challenge, which I think we have to address in B2B, that it’s not always going to be a direct line inquiry and we’re bad at that already let alone anything else.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve all experienced just trying to get through to speak to an actual human being rather than just typing things out for yourself, Yeah, it’s a big old faff, isn’t it.
Phil? any frustrations personally to add.
Phil: Yeah, I think the big problem that we have in B2B is that we’re spoiled by our experiences in our B2C lives. We’re spoiled by going shopping on Amazon or booking.com or any of the really big e-commerce companies who have pumped millions and millions and millions into repeated testing and experimentation to try to find the perfect customer experience digitally. And B2Bs just haven’t followed suit, they’re way, way behind on that front. And so in our personal lives, we’ve become used to this great experience on Amazon or anything else. And then we expect to see it on every website we’re on, whether we’re in the office and our professional day to day life or whether we’re still at home. And without that level of experience, without that same level of CX on the website, it’s going to be frustrating. And I agree with Lilah and Tom there is a delay in coming back to people, but then arguably you shouldn’t have questions that aren’t already answered on a website. It’s just that the process hasn’t been gone through and B2B companies are slow to learn as well. Again, if you take Amazon as an example, just because they’re obviously so successful as an e-commerce company, they know who I am when I go on a website, they know exactly what I’ve bought before, what I’ve done, when I was last there, what I last looked at. And there’s none of that on B2B websites and without that sort of level of personalization coming through, it’s difficult to replicate a really good customer experience. So I think it’s kind of a combination, but you know, B2B has a lot of catching up to do.
Joe: Sounds almost like you need a tool that lets you know exactly who’s looking at your website at all times.
Phil: Yeah, that would be one way.
Joe: Carol, we’ll come to you then. Digital frustrations: what are your personal experiences with that?
Carol: I can definitely agree with all of the points raised completely. I think people do just really expect that high level of personalization, as you were saying. You know, people do see a disconnect if you reach out to them and say, thanks for downloading our white paper; they’re like, you should know which white paper. I expect you to know what I’m looking for, I expect you to have read my problems, you should know what form I filled in. And so people do expect that and I think we’re definitely playing catch up. We’ve got great opportunities through chatbots and through speaking to people but making sure that information is passed through between teams is such a hard thing to do and the level of expectation is so high. So I think that’s the biggest hoop we’ve got to jump through in terms of marketing and obviously improving all on-site and funnelling everything. It’s just let down if then the buyer comes through to speak to someone who has no idea what they want and isn’t even talking about a relevant thing. The other thing that I really get frustrated at is not finding the information I want, like I actually want as much as possible. I think there was a recent survey saying that people love human interactions, but they do actually want to be able to be educated and make their decision. I saw a Gartner survey that had 44% of people prefer no interaction to the point they want it and they want to find what they need. So it’s actually making sure that you’ve got logical, sensible amounts of information, giving people what they need so that then they can take that decision at the point they want to.
Joe: But just to stay with you on this point, Carol, do you think that the B2B buyers’ behaviour has changed since the pandemic?
Carol: Yeah, I think definitely we’ve certainly seen a shift within the B2B buyer. I think it’s forced, it’s forced everything digital in a massive way. I mean, we saw everything from the cost of acquisition for all your paid activity, just go shooting up because no one could do anything but spend money online. And so I think this big digital shift has been enormous. But I think it’s also really here to stay. We’ve seen massive advantages in investing in our on-site activity, live chat and also video. And I think giving that experience to video, video demos, letting people kind of see and experience things in real life, in person has enabled the people who aren’t too keen. And, you know, probably a bit of all of us being a bit inhibited from not seeing people, you know, aren’t that keen on kind of a big social interaction. So I think it’s made that kind of digital journey far more important, but also made hyper personalization and the expectation to go through the roof because people are like……….. just kind of expect that you’re collecting their data, they know that you should understand their needs. They’re expecting this anticipated personalised experience, that you understand them. And I think to keep up with that is a real challenge for marketers but it’s definitely here to stay.
Joe: And Tom, how does that tie in to your original point about the frustration of communication and not being able to get through to people? How has that changed post-pandemic for you, do you think?
Tom: I think it has prompted businesses to need to react and reply even faster than before. I think our urgency has really been accentuated because of the pandemic, because we’ve gotten so used to these online channels that, you know, if they are B2C, as Phil said, they’re already reacting really, really quickly. So I think B2B needs to get their butt in gear and follow suit. You’ve seen these stats float around of how much research buyers do before they even make contact right? And the number is always changing. I’ve seen stats where it’s just like 57% has gone up to 70%. I don’t really care what number it is. We know that it’s a lot. We know that buyers are doing a lot of research before they make contact. And I think the pandemic has gotten people more used to e-commerce with big ticket items. We’ve seen people buy cars. We deal with a lot of heavy equipment dealers and heavy equipment manufacturers in our space…….buying $100,000 – $200,000 worth of equipment, you know, through e-commerce and people are even buying houses right without sight, unseen, just out online. So I think that this number is going to continue to grow, how much research is going into the buying process before a salesperson gets involved. Which simply warrants the need for marketing and good marketing even more than before. And I think the pandemic has really accentuated that.
Joe: Absolutely, OK. Lilah, I’m going to come to you for the next question. If that’s OK. What digital touchpoints are you focused on as a business?
Lilah: So primarily, we’re always focused on our website, we think of that as our prime real estate. We generally try to get all of our digital touchpoints to point back to our website. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know, but that’s what we’re doing. All routes point back to our website, because then we find that we can, you know, look at the stats, look at how we’re converting on our website, look at the traffic, look at our sources, you know, all of that sort of stuff. It is harder though, because I think (just harking back to the last question) that the B2B buyer journey is not as simple as it used to be. I can’t remember who said it earlier, but the amount of research that people are doing online and also the complexity of that research, not just in terms of looking at your website, but looking at social endorsements, looking at reviews, looking at forums, searching around a multitude of outlets, makes that buying journey not as simple anymore. And it is not as easy to track. So you might actually get an interested party who has never visited your website. You know that it’s in that kind of dark funnel. B2B marketing, we always love a little term. So, yeah, it’s in that dark funnel, that untrackable funnel. What do you do with that? And for us, our methodology is…… OK! we know that this goes on but really our single point of truth is our website and so we try to drive as much back to that as we can. We try to make that super informative about what we do because I exactly agree with what Carol was saying, that it’s really a pain when you can’t find out the information The number of B2B websites that I’ve visited and I’m sure everyone’s the same way……. you kind of go on their landing page or the home page and I have no idea what they actually do. It’s just a lot of terminology and you just can’t find the information. So we try to make sure that we’ve got that information front and centre and that the user journey is as slick as it possibly can be. Now I’m not saying we’ve nailed that, but we’re focused very much on our website. Then we are increasingly trying to become aware of our whole digital footprint but the front and centre is our website.
Joe: I think what we’ll do, Phil, is we’ll come to you for this question because I think it very much falls in your ballpark. If a business is to optimise its website conversion and reduce its friction, what should it be focusing on in your opinion?
Phil: Well, there’s not a simple answer to that as what one website needs is not necessarily the same as what the next website needs. However, to pick up on one of the comments that Lilah just made that I absolutely agree with; you see so many company websites that you just do not know what they do and the example I always give is in pre-pandemic days (and I’m showing my age now) where everything needed to be done in trade shows. You used to walk around these trade shows and people would have spent 50, 60, 70, 100 grand on a great big stand and you look at them and you think I have no idea what it is you do….. And it’s exactly the same now in digital real estate and that comes back to the value proposition. Value proposition is not to be confused with brand proposition. They’re two different things, but the value proposition is probably the single biggest lever of conversion rates that I’ve ever seen and I’ve been doing CRO for over 20 years. Invariably, a way to be able to clearly say why your ideal prospects should buy from you and not one of your competitors. So someone can come to your website and in the first five seconds they get it! You’ve answered their pain point, you’ve shown that you have the solution, then you start to evidence that you have a pedigree of being able to provide these solutions. That’s where client logos come in, testimonials, videos, all the rest of it. If you can do that, you’re halfway there because if you think about it (and this is something I will probably repeat several times during this webinar), your website has to be the digital embodiment of your best salesperson. So if you imagine you’re seeing your prospect, they bump into someone in a lift at a trade event, whatever. What does that conversation look like? How do they explain what it is that you do? How do they explain why you should be listening to them and not going to one of their 50 competitors? You need to replicate that and the only way you can get to that information is not by being a marketer sat in our ivory towers thinking, we think that’s what people want, so we’re going to write about it. Get on the shop floor and ask your salespeople, what is it that they’re saying that sets light bulbs going in customers minds? Get that on your website, get it front and centre. Start to pull people through and you’re halfway there, but that is probably the biggest lever. It is replicating that best salesperson journey digitally.
Joe: It’s almost trying to emulate the people behind it, rather than just the corporate entity as it were.
Phil: Yeah, and it’s not an easy thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy for me to sit here and talk about it. But it’s not an easy thing to do because what you have to really then work out is what is their ideal buying journey? And that’s a really key difference because it’s not how you as a business think you need to sell, it’s how they want to buy and you need to replicate that journey with the right assets, the right resources, the right copy, the right explanations throughout those points. And if you get that right, then yeah, you will convert a lot more of your web traffic. You’ll find a lot more good people are filling in your lead gen forms and buying your products. Whatever it is, you will boost your conversion rates.
Joe: So just to look back slightly to something Lilah said, Carol, have you mapped out your digital infrastructure, sort of your digital footprint? And how did you start? What did you include, that sort of thing?
Carol: So we’ve not really produced a full map but we have looked at the quantitative tools we’ve got, the qualitative tools that we’ve got, all the testing and improvement of measurement tooling to see that we’ve got a bit of a view. Are we heading in the right direction? Are we measuring the right things? Have we got the right things in place? Are we responding quickly enough? You know, I think you always used to focus on having the right tech stack to kind of drive your marketing success and now it’s kind of, I think, the balance of factors. Including that tech stack, like the people, the brand storytelling, the messaging, the speed to speak to people, there are so many other elements that I think have become more and more important for us as marketers. It’s kind of your technology architecture does drive those results, and that mapping of it but it needs to be kind of matched with measuring the right things, getting the right people, telling the right stories, having people talking to people in the right way and being skilled in your products and telling those stories. As you said Phil, it’s just so important and fundamental to being the right thing to do.
Joe: A lot of things to juggle, isn’t it, rather than maybe sort of cherry picking bits and pieces that you think would be most effective. Any thoughts on that one Tom? mapping out your digital infrastructure as you focus on one key strategy? Or do you, you know, cherry pick which bits to optimise ?
Tom: Yeah, I think we look at it holistically for a lot of our clients. I think the tech stack in the digital touch points often go hand in hand, right? You have your social channels, you have Google, My Business if you’re a local company, obviously a website (which we’ll continue to talk about quite a bit). But if you’re talking a live chat software, if you’re talking Yext and local listings management, if you’re talking marketing automation and form building tools, they all go hand in hand. That tech stack and what you choose to use for your software, I think creates or allows you to manage those digital touch points. And then that raises the question and the challenge with integrations and that becomes a huge hurdle that a lot of companies need to solve. Because if all of these are siloed, it makes customer service and response time much more cumbersome. It makes measurement much more difficult, if not impossible on some of those channels if you’re not bringing it into one unified source of truth platform or dashboard………. where you’re able to easily look at it, digest and make decisions, drawing decisions from that data. Integrations can be difficult to do and very costly if you don’t select the right technologies that integrate with one another. So that opens up the door for a whole new conversation……..and that’s integrations.
Joe: Lilah, you’re nodding an awful lot. You got much to say on integrations that Tom was mentioning there or ?
Lilah: Well, I think the whole thing is vast and the number of times I’ve been like ‘Holy moly, I don’t know how to integrate this tech stack together. I just don’t know how to start!’ and I think that it’s getting more complicated. I think you’re right, the tech stack and the digital landscape go hand in hand. We started to map our landscape but when you start, it’s like you lift the lid and there’s this bigger pool that you didn’t realise was there. So for example, you’ve got your obvious; you’ve got your website, you’ve got your social media, you’ve got your review sites, for example. But then you kind of go a little bit deeper and you’ve got your influencers that are mentioning you, you’ve got user generated content that mention you, other brands that are mentioning you, you’ve got forums and then it’s kind of like this thing that just continues to grow and grow and grow and you just cannot look at everything. So I think you have to prioritise and I feel like it’s the same with the integrations, that you have to prioritise what is going to have the biggest impact. I think it’s important to be aware of everything and monitor everything, just to see if there’s any new avenue bubbling up that’s actually important to your customer base that you haven’t realised has become a pretty decent contributor to influence. But I think that if you were to try and just focus on everything all at once, you would just be stifled by the amount of things to focus on. So I think it’s about looking at ‘Right! where are my buyers? and what influences them?’…… and they might not necessarily be where you think it is. You know, there are some business communities out there that are massive on Reddit, for example and you can get huge influence by being on Reddit. You have to have a totally different strategy for that, rather than a typical one. It’s almost like you can’t be a marketer on Reddit, right! You have to take a completely different stance. But you know, you have to look at where are your audience? not where you think your audience are or where you think they will be or where you think you want to convey your message….. its where are they? And then prioritise those avenues. Doing it all at once is just mind blowing.
Joe: It’s funny mentioning Reddit. It’s not necessarily one of the social medias that springs to mind when we discuss social media and that sort of thing. So yeah, I had absolutely no idea there was such a huge community over there. So going back to that then, what things can you put in place to ensure that you are prioritising and making sure you’re going to the right places? I think, Phil, we’ll come back to you for that one.
Phil: Well, I guess the starting point is always going to be your data. Every decision that I always preach that people should make has got to be driven in the initial data and that’s got to start…….. Yeah, your Google Analytics or whatever analytics package you’re using is going to be a good source. You will start to see some patterns on a granular level, it’s always going to be organic, search is going to be a big thing and it’s then looking at what sort of keywords. And when you start to analyse those keywords and pull them out, you can start to identify other channels and other sites and other resources that are going to be featured in those niche areas. That takes a lot of time. It’s a lot of effort to be able to do so but the results can be very, very good. But yeah, the advice I would always give is always start with that data point and try and then work your way out by profiling your personas as best you can. I don’t just mean very generic, you know, I’m in my late 40s and married with kids and everything like that! That’s totally irrelevant. It’s got to be about the way I behave and the way I want to buy in regard to your specific type of product or service that you’re offering. Once you’ve worked that out, it’s then not too hard to be able to go and see what other sort of things I might be interested in, where else I might be hanging out. I think LinkedIn is another very good source of data and actually Facebook, you can get a lot of good look like data on Facebook. Again, I think if you start to gradually work out from the data points that we do know, which is invariably going to be to work outwards, then you can start to build a fairly good picture.
Joe: Carol, any alternative methods or is it a similar story to you as Phil there?
Carol: Yeah, I think a similar story and possibly also a nod to what Lilah said in the sense of, it’s been very easy to focus on all the infrastructure points and the tech stack and all the proliferation of things. I think for me, it’s to a degree like…. I was going to say having a Ferrari but probably these days you’d say having a Tesla, that you can only drive at like 20 miles an hour….it’s no fun and you wouldn’t want to do that. I think for this technology, architecture and everything you want to do….so if you want to get those results you have to match it with significant data and also human enablement across the business to understand how to utilise that data and to know how you can kind of use those people, to use the right skills to employ what measurement approach is in place to really tell what that innovation and success is. And I think that the data, the measurement, the human enablement and prioritisation are probably the areas that I think really mean that any investment ends up being realised for the business.
Joe: So just on that then, how have you structured your teams to meet increasing demand?
Carol: So we’re actually in that activity right now, our business is kind of, I guess, termed as a scale up as I suppose. So we’ve invested, we hired a large number of people last year. I think it was actually over 300 people that Canonical hired and we’re hoping to do a similar thing this year. So we’re really growing the teams and looking at, you know,…. (making a lot of mistakes as we build the business and as we build teams) but looking at where we have gaps, where we have needs for people, where we have data, where we can see growth and we really, really need to set that up. So I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year really building out a big demand gen and field marketing function. But also, I have actually kind of a good, strong product marketing team to make sure that we do have the storytelling and the user cases and the value propositions that then we can take to the team, to market. I have not personally managed it, but we’ve invested a lot in our customer success activities, you know, taking customers through the upsell and the journey. Also, the web design team look after our website more or less, but they’ve been doing a huge amount in testing user research and making sure that we’re really, really kind of, I guess, upskilling in that sense. So almost every area, but we’re definitely kind of building as much as we can with the capacity and resources and prioritisation. You do have to eventually find things that you can’t do and that’s always kind of a trade off in a way of looking into what’s the impact? What’s the end result? What’s the highest business value? How quickly can we do things? So we’re always constantly kind of every day making trade offs and having to see where we invest things.
Joe: That’s very exciting. We call it slap bang in the middle of going through that yourself! Now we’ll go to Tom with the same question, then Lilah. So again, how have you structured your digital teams to meet increasing demand?
Tom: Yeah, we work with a lot of medium sized companies, right? Medium sized B2B companies, they usually have large sales teams, small marketing teams, OK budgets and a tech stack that’s very limited and lots of opportunity to improve and grow. So if I can have my way and I could structure the team, I would encourage them to beef up the marketing. The need for better demand generation, better content marketing, better social media marketing on these B2B sites and within these B2B companies is so great that they can have at least 1 to 3 full time staff members just creating content and it would do them a lot of favours. It would produce a lot of leads that could then be handed off to the sales team, as you guys know and everybody listening knows. So I think being able to pump up and beef up the marketing team is a good start and I think that they need to really, really take tech stack a lot more seriously and give that a better budget. Phil equated a website with being the best salesperson on the team and we’ve heard that before and it’s a really, really great example. And I would even go one step further and say other types of software should and can also be acting as additional salespeople as well. And if you can carve out your tech stack budget to be completely separate from your sales and/or marketing budget, that’s really the way to go. So that way you’re not fighting for those dollars and it’s not going to be stealing budget away from the sales/marketing team. And of course, you need to consider what you’re doing for outsourced vendors, like an agency like myself, freelancers, other types of boutique services, design, videography, ghostwriting and copywriting, whatever it is that you don’t feel you can get done in-house. There’s lots of good services out there that you can complement your internal teams with, to make sure that you’re getting the job done. So there’s lots of different moving parts with thinking through the team. It’s not just who is on my marketing team, who’s on my sales team, let’s get the job done. There’s lots of things that need to be working in tandem with one another and I think that both the technology and your outsource partners need to be considered.
Joe: So all about the cohesion,
Joe: Lilah we’ll come to you on that one as well? Then digital teams, what have you done to structure it?
Lilah: So I’ve a bit of a controversial one here in that over the course of the pandemic….. so we have a digital department within our marketing department. We’ve got about 60 team members, something like that and everyone was working on different propositions. We have a digital team and then towards the back end of last year, I was like, if everything is digital, why do you need a digital team? You make everyone focused on digital. It’s just what everyone does and everyone focuses on different aspects of digital or different strategies, that sort of thing. That’s how we’ve restructured our team recently, this year, in fact and we don’t have a digital team anymore. Everything is digital and even though you mentioned trade shows before…. I love a trade show. I’m a big in-person event fan and the trade show has been really important to our proposition in the past, as they still are. In fact, we’ve got a digital marketing web forum today. But it’s no longer just an offline experience. There’s before the event, the actual event itself is online. You know, there’s people tweeting and posting about that event right now and then there’ll be digital experiences about that event afterwards as well. So even when it comes to something that is around in-person experiences, there’s still a need to have a digital footprint associated with that event. I genuinely think that if everything is digital, then everyone should focus on your various different strategies associated with your digital landscape and they need the tools to be able to do so as well. I just wanted to mention because we’ve talked about how vast the landscape can be, that there’s amazing tools out there. So I’ll use some examples just as we’re giving a few specific tips to people. So we use media toolkit, for example, to spot where we’re being mentioned that we don’t know about. You know, where else are we being mentioned and how can we engage with that? Has that got good following? Is that something we can capitalise on? I have no association with media toolkit, by the way…. we just use it. Ahrefs, we use them, same thing….. to find out where we’re being mentioned that we don’t know about and Ahrefs will give you a whole lot of information. Others are available. Hootsuite obviously tracks our social interactions and obviously we use Lead Forensics and Webeo as well. But I just wanted to give a few pieces of software out there, just a couple that really can help with the enablement of looking at and monitoring that digital landscape.
Joe: I mean, yeah, as Brand Awareness manager, I can’t sing Hootsuite praises enough, I completely agree with you on that one. There’s a fantastic bit of kit, but hashtag ad!
So Tom, if our audience can only take away one thing, one tip from you today, what is your ultimate digital frustration tip?
It’s a big one.
Tom: I have a yeah, I always have a few things like it’s hard to limit it to just one key takeaway. I’ll go with this one, though, because maybe the others will say something on the others in my mind. You’re seeing this big movement right now around demand generation, which in my opinion, is just a kind of the new way of describing content marketing. Very, very important, right? You want to create content. You want to create demand for your product, for your brand, for your services and ultimately generating more inbound leads and balanced success. But I think some folks that are big proponents of this movement have this expectation that inbound is the only way and that inbound should become 100% of your activity and your lead generation, which I think is false, a false narrative and I don’t think that’s really ever going to be the case, at least for 99% of companies out there. If that were the case, then it would warrant salespeople extinct and I don’t think that that’s really ever going to happen. So I think that B2B companies really need a healthy balance between inbound and outbound activity and they need to get a lot smarter with their outbound activity. We’re seeing companies really, really using LinkedIn, Sales Nav and just LinkedIn in general…. much more cleverly and much more strategically. We’re seeing sales folks lean on companies like Lead Forensics and Webeo: we’re a partner, so I’ve got to give them a plug……. and it’s been really, really beneficial to our clients to be able to have that insight. It really turns all forms of cold outreach into at least warm outreach and that makes a big, big difference. It’s still outbound activity, it’s still sales activity….this isn’t inbound activity. They certainly complement one another, but there still is a need for outbound. The thing that’s changing is just how you go about it and people are going about it in a much more strategic and methodical way than they did even just a few years ago. I think it’s making a big difference for the company and the salespeople that are doing it right.
Joe: It’s insightful stuff, Tom, you’re a wizard! Phil, we’ll come to you. Same question, one final takeaway for everybody watching here today.
Phil: I think it’s just going with some of the points that have been made. It’s just…… If everyone can just go back to their desk tomorrow morning and try to look at your website from your customers’ perspective. Does it actually really say why you’re great and why they should care? It’s a very simple test you can do yourself, which is just the ‘why should I care test’ …… just read through it and just say, well, why should I care about that? Why should I care about that? And if you have a lot of why should I care on your website, then it needs refinement. Most of what you see in terms of what you can gain from doing any kind of conversion rate optimization, 80% of it will be in copy. Everyone thinks about UX and changing stuff around and changing colours of CTAs and everything else. Now, 80% of it is copy and the best thing you can do, and you know, I’m going to do it as well, is you need to personalise that experience because then you can actually tailor the value proposition to the people coming to your website, right? So that makes a lot of sense. So tools like Lead Forensics and Webeo do offer that ability to refine your value proposition even further, refine that copy even further to make it super targeted and it saves people several clicks……because, yeah, you can put an industry page on your website and you can get there eventually from the home page and that’s fine. But why do that when you can just put it all on the home page? Value proposition is King in B2B, B2C, whatever kind of marketing you’re doing, you have to succinctly say why people should care, why people should give you their time and yeah, personalise it because it makes a lot more sense if you make it relevant to them. Their job title, their industry, their size of company, whatever it is …. and it’s going to be far more successful.
Joe: Have your elevator pitch right on the door, just to be absolutely clear. Yeah Carol, one final take away from you, please.
Carol: I’m going to equally probably fail to give you just one final takeaway so I might just join the trend. So I think I completely agree with both of you, so far and I think for me, it’s absolutely prioritise the perspective of the customer; what they need now, what they want next, everything that they need is kind of beyond and over and above everything. It’s facilitated by an amazing demand generation strategy, by great content and storytelling and copywriting with clear value propositions with that personalised, relevant, timely experience. All of that, you know, it’s all super important, but unless it’s about the customer, then it just doesn’t really matter anymore. It just has to be, I think for me and I think as marketers, we kind of have to do this constant blend of art and science. Like, we’re almost like the perfect balance of humans; you’ve got to use data, but respect the craft of storytelling, you’ve got to tread this fine line between brand marketing and performance marketing, you want to quantify everything, but you can’t quantify everything because it’s not possible. You know, there’s all these journeys happening all over the place. So I think it’s, you know, understanding what you want to centralise, what you want to make bespoke, what becomes best as an ABM campaign? We’re just balancing so many things and I think these new marketing truths kind of embody the confluence of these strategies of operations technology. How you drive growth in this kind of post-covid, digitally advanced world is exciting and challenging and it’s kind of for me, places marketing at such a strategic advantage and as you were saying earlier, investing in marketing teams for small businesses and yeah I do obviously as a marketer, believe in that, so a slightly biased answer in that sense. But I think even at this huge time of flux, we’ve got an amazing kind of opportunity. And as I said, the critical truth is just to place that perspective, the customer at the centre of everything you’re trying to do and it puts you in the right path. It’s kind of one of those final goals we always sort of have a tick off in our team……. is the customer first? Is it important? Is it relevant? You know you have a great way to look forward.
Joe: Hearing that marketing is basically a blend of art and science, that struck a particular chord with me, I really enjoyed that. Thank you very much, Carol. Thank you.
Lilah, one big takeaway from you if you can limit yourself to one!
Lilah: I have a single one, but it might be a little bit all over the place. I just love what Carol just said there…… think about what the buyer wants now and next. I am feeling that Carol, because that is just gold right there because you’re right. And the point I was going to make segues really nicely into that…. It’s about that experience, that holistic experience. So look at the experience that you’re giving your buyers before they land on your website, when they first hear about you, what does that look like. Whether it’s on social, whether it’s on forums, whether it’s on SEO, whether it’s on review sites……what are they seeing of you when they’re on your site? What are they learning about you that benefits them? And then once they leave your site, what experience are you giving them after their visit as well? It is so important to understand that journey and try it, I think . Thinking of Phil’s thing about going back to your desk tomorrow……… how about thinking about this? I’ve also got another thing……try it yourself. Try it because I guarantee that so many marketers don’t try their own processes. Go and test your webchat, go and test what happens on your social media. Go and see what happens when you look at a review site or onto a forum or when you go and read an article, you know, a piece of content that you publish. What happens on that CTA? Go and look at it and see whether it meets your needs as someone in the know, associated with the brand and I guarantee that you’ll find something that’s broken, guarantee it. If and then when you’re thinking about that, that’s the journey, that’s the experience that you’re giving people. So before they visit your website, so you know, they’re just getting used to your brand, think about the experience that you’re giving them for that. When they’re on your site, what experience are you giving them there? And then after they’ve left your site, whether they’ve converted or not at that point in time, what experience are you giving them then of your brand, as well? And I think if you can nail the experience that you’re giving, I think you’re on the right course.
Joe: It definitely makes sense, doesn’t it, to go and make sure your Zendesk is all lining up. So I think we’re just about out of time. This has been a fantastic little chat.
Thanks, everybody, for joining and we’ll see you again for the next Lead Forensics webinar.
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