What Does a CMO Need to Know About Lead Generation?

19 Sep

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Mastering lead generation is a sort of holy grail for all B2B marketers. The CMO position should be attuned to new methods in lead generation, especially new digital channels. These methods of outreach will help to expand a business more quickly than perhaps any other method.

Here are a few of the most important aspects of lead generation a CMO should prioritize.

The Self Directed Customer

The proliferation of information online has led to more buyers who are completely self directed. This is true of vendors in a supply chain or bulk customers. Even if the selection in your industry is limited, the prospect will make their decision based on a sales funnel that is alternative to the mainstream.

How your customer finds you is just as important as finding you in the first place. If your lead comes through a website that is not reputable, your business looks bad. Most customers have their own processes to vet vendors, suppliers and other partners. Your CMO should be trying to find out what this process is and get into it rather than trying to generate leads through a generalized opt-in procedure.

Cutting Through the Noise

Marketing volume is not the answer to digital noise, and your CMO must understand this for the sake of your marketing and finance departments. The Internet is growing faster than any single company can scale. Companies literally enter the digital space to the tune of thousands of new companies per day.

Part of the CMO position is about learning how to pick your prospects out of a crowd. Lead generation is a targeted practice – you are not selling commercial services. Email blasts and mass advertising is becoming less effective every year. Placing ads in targeted locations associates you with the right customer from the start, helping you unqualified prospects, which reduces the chance of a low ROI interaction.

Learning Attention Economics

The basic rule of attention economics, or keeping the attention of a qualified prospect, is this: An abundance of information equals a scarcity of attention. There are 5 exabytes of new information being created and placed on the Internet every 2 days, according to Google. It is essential that your CMO learn how to keep the attention of a prospect even within the scope of a qualified ad space.

Your messages must relate to the immediate need of a prospect – these immediate needs are the focus of that prospect’s attention at that time. Learning what these needs are is a function of social media. Prospects will actually tell you straightforwardly what they need if you just listen. Do not be afraid to do a bit of research on a highly qualified prospect before your first engagement. The CMO should lead a concerted effort to discern behavioral trends from a prospect’s social media posts and past purchase history.

The CMO position is quietly but assuredly becoming more expansive as the need for targeted lead generation becomes more prevalent. Make sure that your CMO is empowered with the tools to follow the directives above for best results during the lead generation process. Your CMO should also look to constantly improve the lead generation process as the market changes – you can bet that prospects will only become more picky as the Internet continues to grow and create more noise.

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How to Move Your B2B Company into a Fully Data Driven Strategy

14 Sep

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There is very little room for your company to interpret marketing as a “soft skill.” With the overlap of marketing with tech, marketing with data, and marketing with finance, successful companies will incorporate a data driven strategy into the marketing department.

Below are a few ways to move your B2B company into a fully data-driven format – and the sooner the better.

Create a language that translates well throughout your entire organization

If you can agree on a common language that translates from marketing to finance, you will move into a data driven format much more quickly. You will be able to set goals that flow through departments rather than creating initiatives that get stuck in IT. Multidisciplinary goals are usually more critical to the success of a company, and thus more important.

Get your metrics together

If your bottom line is revenue (pun intended), then your metrics should not be as concerned with vanity as much as most companies are. It may be tempting to focus on likes, shares, or page time – we all know that. However, if you are looking to convert big prospects that usually take time to move through the sales funnel, then the metrics you prioritize should be more along the lines of informs, engages, and conversion rates.

Work to more precisely define an audience for your company

Why are your prospects really buying your products? The reason may be different from what you focus on. You will never really know unless you collect information. Moving into a data driven strategy means identifying the decision makers. Do not assume that all purchase decisions are made at the top of the executive suite. The motivations of the specialists who may be greenlighting your purchases are likely different from what you think.

Create all content for a specific purpose

Content for content’s sake is pointless in terms of driving decisions through data. Why do your users actually want what you are producing? If you define what you plan to achieve through a particular content deployment, then you can more precisely lay it out. You should also take note of the content that provides you with a higher ROI.

Eventually combine your creation, content, strategy and performance goals into a single initiative

There is no aspect of modern marketing or operations that functions on its own. If you are segmenting your data, then you are missing the insights that can only come from a holistic assessment. Look to quantify the actions that you take and note the impact they have on business. Even if you achieve a conversion rate goal for a quarter, being ignorant of why you achieved it will almost ensure that you will never duplicate it.

According to CEB Global, your prospect is usually more than halfway through the sales cycle before ever engaging your team. By the time they talk to you, they know who you are. What do you know about them? Let the tips above move you into a data driven strategy as soon as possible to remove this disadvantage. A holistic strategy that is purely data driven will consistently improve your customer relations and lead you to the results that you have been looking for.

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How Your B2B Can More Optimally Utilize the Event Stack

12 Sep

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Bridging the gap between your online and offline marketing and operations is more important than ever. The event stack can become a critical bridge in this effort, if there is an effort made to optimize it.

Some companies come from a culture of hosting great offline events. Others have a mastery of the newer digital marketing strategies. Getting the most out of the event stack means combining these two disciplines. Optimal use of the stack ensures that your company builds the best relationships and influences the industry most effectively.

Quantifying the Face-to-Face Event

Customer facing offline events are second to none when it comes to personal connection. However, many companies falter when it comes to quantifying the success of these events. Incorporating data driven intelligence that is usually meant for digital marketing is a great first step. Connect your events into your digital channels from the beginning of the process. Find out who will be attending and target your best prospects before you go.

Events Across the Entire Buying Cycle

The traditional disconnect that occurs between offline and online hubs tends to fade if a company organizes them over the entire buying cycle. This coincides with the natural flow of the relationship with a prospect – part of it is offline while other aspects of the relationship are online. Your offline events should integrate into your digital cadence.

Use Digital Marketing Techniques for Offline Events

Bringing back information from offline events also becomes easier with digital technology. Livestreaming events will allow for an in depth analysis of individual interactions. You can also more easily remember smaller interactions for follow up. The modern event stack will include an event site CMS, an app, RFID attendance scanners, registration and networking software and even polling systems. This suite of tools can be used to analyze data from all angles of the event.

Optimizing Your Stack

Take note of the tools that event producers have on hand. Before attending any event, determine how those tools may be leveraged based on the access that you will have to them. Is there any way to pay for more access? Many industry events will include a basic statistical analysis for all attendees and will, at a minimum, give each company contact information for analysis.

If you are hosting an event, make sure that you choose your tools based on the information that you would want yourself as an attendee. Not only will the right perspective connect you to other players within your industry, but you will also gain deeper insights into potential partners and competitors.

Do Not Isolate Your Insights

There are usually trends that come out of analysis – you may not be able to see them if your ability to connect offline and online data is limited. If you are coming up time and again with isolated data that does not seem to apply outside of that individual event, you may want to look into updating your stack.

Modern tools that take the wider marketing narrative into account are better at helping to you identify trends. You may have to experiment in terms of connecting your tools to bring out insights that may be hidden.

Analytics from a connected marketing platform is becoming more important than ever, according to event professionals from many continents. As the world becomes more connected, so should your online and offline marketing strategy. Take note of optimization strategies with new tools as they come for best results.

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How B2B is Using AI

7 Sep

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The commercial world has yet to give artificial intelligence (AI) the attention that it deserves. This is no reason for you to hold off on its study or implementation – AI is about to change the B2B world as we know it forever.

Below are just a few of the reasons that you should look into this burgeoning concept before it becomes the norm.

AI Gives More Effective Insights

There are some aspects of marketing that require a human touch, such as handling unique customer service problems. There are other aspects that are handled much better through computers, including data collection, trend analysis and certain customer acquisition tactics. One of the best uses of AI is anticipating the needs of new customers.

Prospects are constantly leaving bread crumb trails of their behaviors everywhere, especially on social media. One may think that collecting and analyzing data on social media is a strictly human endeavor. In reality, the opposite is true. Predictive analysis is actually a discipline that is handled more accurately through AI. Technology has improved to the point that AI can tell the difference between a positive and negative comment. AI can interpret the connotations of words and connect those connotations to a prospect’s behavior. Because it can collect more information than a human, it has more data to analyze. AI also relieves your analysis of the personal biases that humans bring to the process.

AI Creates More Room for Specialization

Prospecting from trend analysis is a tedious job that no one goes to college for. Why not let the AI handle the entry level data collection and input functions, leaving your human capital available for more creative pursuits? You save both time and morale, which eventually leads to saving a great deal of money.

Successful salespeople need to specialize, and they need time to specialize. It is also easier for your people to sell if you empower your sales team with information that basically puts them in the middle of the sales funnel rather than cold calling all day. You also protect your company against employee turnover. If your AI holds prospect data, then it does not leave when an individual leaves. Your sales are no longer contingent on the individuals that you employ, which is a great advantage to have.

Deeper Learning

Believe it or not, you can actually meet your prospects at a deeper level by letting AI do its job. Machine learning tech speeds up the creation of your buyer personas as well as your data sorting/cleaning functions. Your human capital should be spent on learning the individual nuances within the segments that your AI sorts for you.

Each of your prospects is unique, but you might be surprised at the trends that you can uncover with a bit of unbiased AI. With machine learning technology, you also improve the intelligence of your AI as it collects data for you.

80% of your competitors are expecting to incorporate AI into their marketing by 2020, according to Demandbase. Are you prepared to keep up? Ensure the longevity of your company by creating room in your marketing for AI today rather than later. As a matter of fact, start today and get ahead of the curve.

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Do B2B Industries Need to Worry About Social Media in 2017?

5 Sep

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In the United States, it is no longer socially acceptable for a viable business to consider email as a primary source of outreach. This is especially true in a niche industry such as building materials – make one person angry, and it could affect business with many partners. Countries outside of the United States are actually drawing the curtains on traditional outreach methods in a legal way. Canada and the EU define hard penalties for companies who are found to be in defiance of this new social norm.

With traditional outreach and mass platforms on the decline, at least for businesses, social outreach will certainly continue to experience growth in the near future. Social media has been identified as a core hub for big data and cost-effective trend analysis, even without the clamps being placed on other sources of outreach.

Do B2B industries need to worry about social media in 2017? The short answer is yes. Here are the specific reasons why:

Opportunities to Improve the Customer Experience

CX (the customer experience) is the new UI. CX is now the centerpiece of most successful social media initiatives from B2B companies. The best part – if you are highly focused on CX, you will be ahead of the curve, especially in the building materials industry.

Customers, especially large clients, love personalized service. They demand it. They are also looking for highly intuitive communications with you, even if that communication is knowingly automated. Your brand messaging must be consistent, especially if the customer is sitting at the beginning of the sales funnel.

If you have yet to solidify the connection between your major social media accounts, do so right away. Your landing page should move nicely into your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. NOTE: If one of the major social media hubs does not work for your company for some reason, it is better to get rid of it completely rather than have a dead channel on your hands.

Investments in More Interactive Content

Modern marketing is more visual than ever, and most of these visuals are not as static or 2D as they used to be. More B2B companies are investing in interactive content than ever before. Content that reaches out and grabs the viewer obviously has a positive impact on engagement. The overall result is a heightened priority on indirect marketing vehicles such as livestreams, blogs and interactive product demos over webinars.

The overwhelming majority of customers enjoy interactive content at all levels of the sales funnel. However, interactive content can be expensive to produce, and its rollout is usually slower. You will need to focus on social media to find the best opportunities to employ strong visuals and interactivity. You can also focus your efforts on your best customers through social media, ensuring that your ROI for more expensive marketing remains high.

Qualifying Better Leads

Customers basically give away their souls on social media. If your CMO knows how to collect and interpret data, you will be able to screen for qualified customers more diligently than ever. Converting your social leads will only become more important as email and other mass forms of outreach become less effective.

The most successful companies in the next five years will understand intimately how social media marketing translates into new leads, legacy customers and the bottom line. Get ready for increased investments in social as time goes on.

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