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The Insights You Should Be Following in the 2017 B2B Market

28 Nov


You do not have to wait on the new year to give an assessment of your marketing and business strategies. Technology and business trends are moving faster than ever, so whenever you have a chance to stop and revise, you should do so. Here are a few new insights that you may want to consider incorporating into your strategies for the rest of 2017.

Marketing Automation

The concept of automation was made for B2B marketing. The idea of being able to apply personalized concepts at scale gives business marketers the ability to nurture an entirely new level of leads and track those leads confidently down the sales funnel. Surprisingly, many companies have not looked into marketing automation as a viable strategy for 2017. Do yourself a favor – start automating your initial email outreach or CRM updates and watch how much free time you have for more creative pursuits.

Content Marketing

Although content marketing has been used as a staple technique in the B2B landscape for many years, most companies have not truly incorporated inbound marketing into the equation. We now have more opportunity than ever to share social media and blogs with our prospects. This is also another strategy that you should incorporate as quickly as possible. Many B2B specialists have identified content marketing as a strategy they want to employ; they simply have not found the time to do so. If you are on the cutting edge, then you can expect quicker results for your timely actions.


Prospects demand personalized service. The B2B industry should be taking a page from smaller e-commerce sites and personalizing content whenever possible. For instance, if you are not using dynamic content insertion as a daily technique in your email blasts, you have some catching up to do.

Channel Integration

Going omnichannel is great, but have you integrated these channels into a single nurturing process that is easy to fulfill? It is one thing to collect separate lists of data from social media, your phones and message boards. However, you may be creating trouble through duplicate records, outdated records and unqualified leads. Funnel all of your channels into a single CRM so that you can effectively track your prospects through the sales funnel.

Account-Based Marketing

Combining account-based marketing with marketing automation is a technique that savvy companies are now seriously considering. Look for automation services that also include features of account-based marketing that will make targeting and nurturing groups of prospects easy through the creation of buyer profiles.

Mobile Marketing

All marketers should be looking to move into the mobile space. Google has reduced its mobile first index and will begin giving out penalties for pop up windows. These are both signs that commerce continues to move into the mobile space, and this trend is definitely not turning around anytime soon. Mobile traffic is now over 50% of all web traffic, and no business can be sure that they are being contacted on a desktop or a laptop. Make it a goal to shore up your mobile marketing by the end of 2017 for best results in 2018.


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Personalizing Content to Empower Your Sales Team

7 Nov

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Marketing and sales must work as a team in order for your revenues to keep pace with your competition. Just as your sales team has the responsibility of finishing the job on the front lines, your marketing team has the responsibility of making the initial lead acquisition and journey through the sales funnel as easy as possible. If your sales team goes into battle with personalized content, they will be greatly empowered to bring home the bacon.

The modern customer demands personal attention. However, they do not want to be pushed into a sale. The goal of personalizing content is to create a relationship between the salesperson and the customer that will eventually translate into action. Here are just a few of the ways that your marketing team can help your sales team succeed by personalizing content.

Buyer Personas

Your salespeople are dealing with individuals, but those individuals definitely fit a certain psychology. Make sure that your salespeople understand the buyer persona of each customer. Forward them the email threads that go to different personas. Make them understand the differences in marketing to those different personas as well. If your front-line salesmen understand how you have introduced the company to certain people, they will be able to follow up with a much more personalized message.


Is there any reason that the marketing team knows that the big client’s CFO has recently retired and the sales team doesn’t? Is the sales team privy to the latest information about a prospect’s ability to make a purchase? It is very important to let the sales team in on all the real-time information that your customer relationship management CRM program gets from your prospects. This is yet another building block that your salesmen can use to create a personalized pitch when doing business.


The best companies are now opening the doors of their marketing staff meetings to salesmen. No longer is a position on the marketing team seen as a promotion over sales – the two positions are treated equally in terms of determining marketing campaigns, advertisements, and social media rollouts. When the sales team has a say in the way that ads are rolled out, they will be more likely to understand the message that marketing is putting in front of prospects.

Regardless of your industry, your sales and marketing team must work together to create the personalized content that will empower your sales team to succeed. Otherwise, you are basically throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Follow the tips above to ensure a close connection between your sales and marketing teams and the personalized content that will work well in the field.


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Are You Properly Using Intent Data?

3 Oct



Your sales and marketing departments should be constantly on the lookout for the most cutting edge revenue driving innovations. One idea that is gaining an enormous amount of traction – with good reason – is intent data.

Intent data, is at its core, a tool for marketers that closely resembles big data. Many companies found that simply collecting big data was an expensive time sink unless that data was properly interpreted and activated. Intent data takes big data one step further. Taking the big data thats been aggregated by marketers and applies a rhyme and a reason to it. Intent data data gives marketers that interpretation and activation without the complicated manual process of analysis.

The term has been on the scene long enough that a few intent data techniques have proven themselves to be quite effective. Let’s take a look at some of the best!

Intent Data as Context

Your prospects may not be converting for the reasons that you think they are. If you never find the context within which your customers choose you, your sales will have a more difficult time expanding into new markets. You will push the wrong features and benefits, drawing deaf ears where you could be mining new business.

Intent data is really good at moving past the surface level information that populated CRMs around the world. Company name, position, and time served will not get you anywhere these days. You need to know the preferred technologies of a contact, what their unofficial role in the hierarchy might be, and their history of behavior when faced with criteria relevant to your sales funnel. Intent data does this more intensely than perhaps any other current information grab or practice, and as such, is definitely something to add to your repertoire in the near future.

Without intent data, you may find yourself selling to people who exhibit the right behaviors but will never purchase. They may not have the capacity nor the propensity, and you will never know unless you drill, drill, drill.

More Personalization

The hidden secret of today’s online marketing is how to un-anonymize your prospects as soon as possible. When your prospects first visit your website, they are fairly anonymous – outside of IP tracking – but their personal character traits and motivations are still a mystery to your business. You also have very little information about the purpose they serve within their company. That person could be a decision maker or just an intern who is surfing the Internet randomly.

Web personalization serves these visitors customized content that will drive them towards actions that will identify them. The modern intent data process is not obvious or invasive. Ideally, your new prospects will feel as though they are meeting a new friend rather than putting information into a resource and time sink.

Lead Prioritization

The process of lead prioritization, essentially separating good leads from the bad, has never been easier thanks to the ever-increasing automated marketing stack marketers have at their finger tips. CRM’s email systems, ad platforms, and more can all be combined to create big data that then gives us the ability to score leads more quickly and accurately than ever before.

If you are in need of additional intent data, most automated marketing stacks allow for the introduction of third party intent data through publisher networks. These networks utilize user registration cookies of IP information to give you an even more refined and accurate picture of your user.

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Clearing Up Content Confusion

28 Sep

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hillmanGuest Contributor: Matt Hillman, Creative Director

September 2017 was the fifth anniversary of my first visit to the annual Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. Back then, content was a term that was showing up more and more frequently at all levels of marketing, but there was still confusion around some of its most fundamental elements—and as I work with clients, I still witness a certain degree of blank looks and furrowed brows when talking about what content is and what it can do for a brand.

So to mark the five-year anniversary of my own immersion into content marketing’s biggest event, here’s a quick review of three content fundamentals to help building materials marketers better understand content—or at least feel less lost in content discussions.


There are many, many definitions available to explain what content is, and while I have my favorites—not to mention my own definition—let’s start with what content isn’t. Content isn’t about selling; it isn’t sales collateral, spec sheets, features & benefits, or anything else that drives the audience to buy. Instead, content is about informing and sharing what you know. Content drives the audience to understand what you know as a subject-matter expert—and that, in turn, makes them more comfortable buying from you.

So whether it’s a blog post, ebook, video, Slideshare post, infographic, podcast, or any other vehicle for sharing thought leadership, that’s what we mean by content. And content can be something you create yourself or that you curate from other respected sources, demonstrating that you’re plugged in to industry information and trends.

Content Strategy

Like a strong brand, strong content doesn’t happen by accident. It begins with deliberation and is sustained with discipline—and that means planning. Content Strategy is simply the plan you put in place to determine what your content will say, who will create it, and how frequently it will be shared.

Having a written strategy—and this is key, it must be captured and shared with everyone who will be contributing—is step one. Look at what you are qualified to speak to, what your audience is interested in consuming, and what else is out there on those topics; what comes out of that is your strategy. At the heart of a content strategy is a curator who makes sure what’s being created, referenced, and shared aligns with the plan—if it doesn’t, throw it out. Focus and consistency are critical if your content is going to get recognized.

Content Marketing

Once you have content, now you need people to find it. Sure, you have it available on your website or on YouTube or in that monthly newsletter, but that’s passive content. What you need is to connect your valuable, information-rich content with the people who want to consume it—that means marketing.

Getting content to your existing audience is easy enough through emails, newsletters, and blog posts. Getting it in front of new audiences takes more effort. Organic web searches will help, so having SEO keywords and phrases woven into your content is important so that Google and Bing will offer it in search results. But to really charge your content game, look at social posts—LinkedIn is an especially good place to find to your B2B audience—pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, as well as services that specialize in distributing content across multiple platforms.

The Key Takeaway

Most importantly, remember that despite data being a critical element to charting your content, content is an art, not a science. Chances are you won’t get it perfectly right on your first try—or even a few after that. So do your research, make a plan, and then be ready to bob & weave as you learn what works and what flops with your particular audience.

Content is about a conversation and building trust, and trust doesn’t happen overnight. Being the consistent, reliable, relevant provider of valuable thought leadership for the building materials industry is the immediate goal, so think long-term and plan ahead, and in time, you’ll find more and more leads are coming from people who tell you, “I saw your video on YouTube” or “I’ve been reading your blog for a few months.” That’s the ultimate power of content.

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4 Questions Small Businesses Should Ask About Your Website

16 May


In some ways, the features that make a website a good website vary from one small business to the next. Every small business serves a unique market, and your website should reflect that. But there are a few key basics that every small business should demand in their website regardless of market if you want to be competitive in your market.

Whether you already have a website or are thinking of getting a new one, these are the key questions you should be asking:


  1. SEO?  While optimizing your site so it appears high on the list of results that search engines return for their users may sound easy, it’s actually fairly complicated—especially because search engines like Google are constantly changing things to perfect their search algorithm. Are you positive your website is optimized for SEO best practices.
  2. Leads?  Can you prove your website is driving leads for your business? If not, it can be almost impossible for you to understand its cost vs. value. Like any other investment you make as a small business, the numbers should add up. Make sure your site includes a system that allows prospects to enter their information to ask for services and assistance. Lastly, look into pay-per-click (PPC) for your website and determine whether your site has the built-in capabilities to prove where the leads are coming from.
  3. Copy?  Words matter, and they especially matter on your website. So what is your website saying about you? Have you personalized it for your market? Does it convey what makes your company unique and special? Does it make a potential customer trust you? And lastly, are you leveraging keywords effectively so you show up first—and not your local competitors—when potential customers go searching for the products and services you offer?
  4. Products and services?  Does your website effectively display the products and/or services you offer? Are you able to quickly and easily update your site to reflect what is current? If not, are you showing your customers outdated products or services no longer available? Today’s customers want to be able to research their options—this is an easy but important opportunity for you to be their partner in getting the product information they need.


And lastly, a bonus question—do you have a website at all? If not, why don’t you? Better yet, if you have a website, are you putting resources into promoting it via PPC and other services that make you stand out against competitors?

As more and more people turn to the internet to not only find service providers, but to do research and find someone they trust, it becomes that much more important for you to have a strong web presence.

The truth is, if you’re failing any one of these questions, you could potentially be sending potential business prospects to your competitors, even if these prospects would typically already be inclined towards your brand. That’s why it’s important to ask questions regarding your website, whether it’s new or old.

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