You might have seen in the evergreen classic “Karate Kid” movie where the protagonist Daniel gets trained in the Gōjū-ryū style of karate by Miyagi. Well, it’s not as simple as that to learn the art of B2B Marketing (pun intended). There are many things you need to understand about B2B Marketing in today’s time. Unfortunately, many B2B marketing warriors are having a difficult time in understanding what they actually need to know to create effective marketing & sales plans. It’s true that the old ways of B2B marketing don’t work anymore. But there are principles which are ageless that the marketers should be diligent in practice, in order to succeed. One of those ancient principles of business is identifying the challenges that you are facing. Every present B2B marketing combatant must have faced the marketing & sales challenge that’s been created during the past 25 years, because of the rise of the internet. B2B marketing has emerged as a dynamic battlefield and the marketers now need to operate within a framework of new responsibilities, new technologies & new challenges. The problems that are being faced by B2B marketing warriors are more complex than those faced by the customers. The solutions that majority B2B buyers want are technology-oriented as well. Therefore, it will take time & a clear process to lay out how the solution meets a buyer’s need. Normally business customers seek solutions that can contribute to increasing revenue performance or reducing costs. In fact, today’s customers are also being empowered due to constant access to information. It’s no hidden secret that B2B customers want the best possible price & will push hard on the pricing, but they also want a piece of mind that what they are buying will do exactly what it is supposed to do with the minimal fuss. In this scenario, the 21st century B2B marketers need to raise the bar with relevant customer interactions & focus their chi to aim for high levels of engagement. To help you figure out where you are lacking guidance & where your potential marketing battle techniques may lie, we have identified some of the biggest B2B marketing challenges that you can turn into opportunities.
“People are still people, and if you have been approaching people all along, with the principles of B2B marketing and sales, then you will keep succeeding.” – Old marketing saying
Are you ready, Daniel San?
B2B Marketing Challenge 1: Not knowing the pathMany B2B marketing warriors of today are unsure of the best way to achieve tough marketing objectives primarily because of media fragmentation, channel diversification & reduced effectiveness of traditional marketing activity. In their minds, they are all on a journey but unknowingly on the wrong paths. Without a clear vision, they repeat the same patterns in the hope that the things might turn out better. For example, the same batch of ‘x’ blast email program will be wheeled out again in the hope that open rates will improve. But they do not. No common purpose in B2B marketing means reduced marketing productivity, efficiency, performance & value. Bonus: 10 KEY B2B MARKETING TRENDS THAT MARKETERS NEED TO KNOW
B2B Marketing Challenge 2: Not being connectedTechnology can be a blessing & a curse. Too often B2B marketers see the potential of technology but can’t seem to integrate into a single process. This will lead to stuff happening in siloes, without a common goal. If SEO, SEM, website, social & online media are not linked, then how can your communications be connected? And what about the other powerful tools in the arsenal like a CRM, content management system, analytics platforms & others. B2B marketing has always been about the whole being greater than just some of its parts.
B2B Marketing Challenge 3: Where to bet the money?Resource prioritization is more critical than ever due to more teams covering a wider range of activities & the increase in the need for value. There are times where budgets are cut dramatically & in many cases, there won’t be any discretionary budget available for anything. Here the B2B marketers will need to demonstrate the value that will be attained from each channel. But for this, a top notch strategy will be needed & a patchy report won’t just cut it.
B2B Marketing Challenge 4: Marketing & sales alignmentYou must have heard the new saying that up to 70% of the B2B buyer’s journey is completed online, even before the buyer even reaches out to sales. A report by Gartner Research says that by 2020, over 85% of the decision will be made without any human interaction. So how it’s going to be? One cool way would be to increase lead generation, which over 60% of businesses have highlighted as their biggest challenge, by integrating marketing & sales – an initiative which over half of B2B companies mention as one of their primary objectives. Integration between B2B marketing and sales still has a long way to go but is better than yesterday. Bonus: SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT – TIPS TO SAFEGUARD B2B Marketing Challenge 5: Global content & marketing Globalization is another challenge which B2B marketing combatants are facing. Even though the services & products are to be marketed globally, understanding & catering to the needs of markets should be done from a local level. It is primarily because what resonates in one market might not be received the same way in another. The audience should feel confident that their challenges are understood & the solutions marketed will help make their lives better. This means the content prepared should communicate in such a way that it lines up with those particular regions habits. Or else the messaging becomes confusing & diluted. Bonus: CONNECT WITH HARD-TO-REACH TECHNOLOGY USERS WITH CONTENT MARKETING B2B Marketing Challenge 6: Managing the Big data Many B2B marketing combatants struggle with data management & usage. This is because before you can start using data, time & tools to interpret & make decisions about the data should be present. B2B marketing & sales teams need to make smart sales & marketing goals. This will help in placing the right systems & tools in place including CRM, marketing automation & web analytics. Organizations won’t also miss the trick in putting personalized, customized & triggered communications to prospects. Bonus: HOW SEGMENTED COMPANY DATA TYPE CAN SOLVE YOUR BIG DATA ISSUES B2B Marketing Challenge 7: Reaching the right people Average B2B purchase decision involves at least 3-5 decision makers. For a better chance of winning, B2B marketers need to attract, reach & engage with all likely stakeholders who have authority in buying decisions. Content that speaks to both influencers & decision makers should be created and marketing departments should ask sales team to contribute to content. Bonus: WHY YOU NEED B2B EMAIL DATABASE FOR YOUR EMAIL MARKETING B2B Marketing Challenge 8: Tracking the leads & benefits You are being tracked as you read this content. This is because we use marketing technology to track you live in our funnels & in detailed reports. But tracking in the online world has been around for quite a while. Google, Facebook & other platforms can track you all the time. Tracking has become so powerful with live tracking, smartphones & social interactions. It is essential for B2B marketers to learn the technicalities of Analytics. Otherwise, you will end like that old hunter who followed tiger tracks to find ducks.
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End with respect.Challenges exist for all kinds of professions. Or else what’s the fun. Today, in B2B marketing there are more tools to help focus on customers. The major obstacles may not be as major as you might imagine if you execute your marketing plan with the necessary tools. Finally, it all ends in how you prepare in your mind. Arigato. Also read: JOURNEY FROM RAW DATA TO ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS