For marketers, generating leads has always been important. But you don’t want just any leads. You want the leads with the best chance of successfully making the journey from awareness to purchase. (It would be a bonus if they made that journey fast, but we’ll get to longer sales cycles shortly. Hold tight).
Marketers today have more tools than ever to support this task. And yet, tools only work as well as the strategies behind them. So we’ve brainstormed our favorite marketing strategies in B2B to help you get better results.
Marketing strategies to generate leads: Focus on first-party data
Know your target market. It’s the first rule for all good marketing. And yet, you can’t just know “Tech Tim,” “Marketer Molly,” or the other personas you design. You also need to know the audience members as individuals. That requires first-party data.
First-party data is the information you collect about your target audience based on their interactions with your brand’s marketing channels. It’s valuable data about their behaviors, preferences, and needs that help you personalize marketing and create more engaging experiences.
You can collect data via many different touchpoints, such as your website, CRM, social media, webinar platform, and more. A marketing automation tool helps leverage this data to create more personalized and meaningful interactions.
Campaign planning marketing: Create content for every stage
Don’t leave your audience hanging. You want to create content at every stage of the customer’s journey — top, middle, and bottom — with the right message at the right time.
Here’s why: 61% of B2B buyers consume three to seven pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson. If you’re stumped about what type of content to deliver at each stage, here are a few suggestions:
- Early stage. At this stage, prospects realize they have a problem, and they want to learn more about how to solve it. Examples of great content at this stage include infographics, blog content, and quizzes.
- Middle stage. The buyer has a sense of how to solve their problem, and now they’re comparing different solutions. Examples of potential resources to create include eBooks, whitepapers, and case studies.
- End stage: The buyer is finally ready to purchase, and you want to win them over with content such as testimonials, videos showcasing credibility, and product demos.
Also, as you’re planning what type of content to deliver, consider automating tasks. After all, you can’t be everywhere at once, and a tool like marketing automation can help eliminate manual drudgery and scale marketing efforts.
B2B marketing strategies: Put relationship-building on autopilot
Speaking of drudgery, marketing teams are increasingly challenged with doing more with less and yet still have big goals. Some face staff cutbacks and budget cuts, and even if you aren’t, many teams are still overwhelmed.
Automating campaign nurturing allows you to put relationship-building on autopilot. It eliminates many manual tasks, allowing you to develop a campaign, choose the appropriate target segment, and decide who receives what content and when.
For example, Tower Federal Credit Union lacked the ability to effectively and efficiently nurture current and prospective members. Using Act-On, they delivered members the right message at the right time, increasing open rates on follow-up emails by 300%.
Marketing strategies in B2B: Leverage the amazing powers of AI
Delivering the right content at the right time is key. But it’s also helpful to streamline content creation to free up staff time. Emerging tools, such as Act-On’s AI Create, leverage generative AI to create content faster.
AI Create uses a single prompt to generate new email content in seconds. Additionally, you can use it to create subject lines, eliminating the dreaded writer’s block that often slows teams down.
“We have been using Act-On’s AI Create feature for the past month, and I find it easily puts an end to writer’s block,” said the director of development at an enterprise transportation company. “I now have at my fingertips refreshed versions of stale and outdated emails. Act-On AI Create also saves time developing text for new email campaigns, forms, and landing pages. I recommend making this tool a part of others’ marketing strategies.”
Campaign strategies: Multiply efforts with advocacy
You can create as much content as you want, but unless you have a fantastic plan for distribution, it can accumulate cobwebs sitting unread. A strategy that helps is advocacy.
Here are a few places to start:
- Your existing customers. Did you write a great case study? If so, you can ask the customer to share it, spreading awareness and attracting more top-of-the-funnel interest.
- Your employees. We recently talked to our internal demand generation guru, Kelsey Yen, about promotion strategies. One of her favorite tricks is asking account managers and other customer-facing staff to promote content, such as webinars, directly in their email signature lines (check out more great promo tips in point #5).
- Your partners. You might have comarketing partners, and if so, they can be a great resource for promoting content that aligns with your common goals. When you create relevant campaigns, ask them to share. And, of course, do the same for them!
Also, stay on the lookout for more advocates as you create new campaigns. Even your internal SMEs can be great advocates, helping you spread the word while sharing their insights and expertise.
Marketing strategies in B2B: Combat lengthening sales cycles
Longer sales cycles were happening before the pandemic, but the pandemic only increased that challenge. But that doesn’t mean you must sit back and watch them continue getting longer. Instead, you can leverage a strategy designed to deal with a growing number of decision-makers (one of the top drivers of longer sales cycles).
Account-based marketing helps you focus on targeted, high-value accounts. ABM campaigns involve precise targeting to deliver more tailored content across many decision-makers in the same organization. As a result, you can be more coordinated in your efforts and support shorter sales cycles.
How to improve marketing campaign: Retool, rethink, and pivot
The market is full of new tools. And, of course, a new tool in itself isn’t necessarily the answer to every challenge. It’s about the potential impact of that tool and how well it solves your problem. But when you combine the right tools with the right strategies, you can push through the roadblocks wedged between you and your goals — and do so at scale.
Do you need help attracting more prospects? If so, we can help! Download our eBook and we’ll give you our favorite tips for attracting new high-quality leads.