Four Mistakes B2B Marketers Make When Creating Content For Sales Enablement

Content marketing is a tool that should be used to smooth every stage and touch point of the customer journey.

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The ten key elements of a buyer-driven strategy

We can look to COVID-19 as the accelerant needed to adapt B2B marketing, but it is only that, an accelerant. Buyers were changing their habits long before COVID (how they consume content, research and make decisions, engage with vendors), and they will continue on that path. We are now in a buyer's world, and we need a buyer-driven strategy. But it's a significant change for organizations that typically follow a marketing-driven or sales-driven strategy. Integrate believes they have the technology to help make that change.

I spoke with Integrate CMO Deb Wolfe about the changes marketers face and how the technology, Integrate's in particular, is evolving to support those changing needs.

Adopting a buyer-driven strategy

Wolfe said that buyers don't care where they are in your marketing-defined journey map; they don't know or care about campaigns, accounts, or anything marketing or sales organizes. They want information to help them make purchase decisions, and they want an easy path to purchase regardless of where they are. Organizations need a solution that orchestrates a consistent experience across the entire journey.

Although there are a number of best-of-breed technologies to support marketing and sales, including ABM solutions, marketing automation, sales enablement, and so on, only a few tackle multiple channels and strategies. For example, Demandbase One is a combination of lead generation and ABM. But no tech vendor is investing in all channels. That's where Integrate sees its Demand Acceleration Platform (DAP) fitting in.

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The Case for Community-Based Marketing in 2021

It would be easy to attribute the weak B2B marketing efforts to the pandemic or the reduced budgets that resulted from it, but the uncomfortable truth is that traditional marketing tactics are becoming outdated and ineffective and need to be updated.

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The Importance of Brand in ABM

Account-based marketing presupposes that leads are not the goal of the program. After all, it’s not called lead-based marketing. Rather than hoping someone fills out a form, modern go-to-market teams today focus on creating awareness and traffic. This translates into signals (engagement data, intent data, etc.) that outbound and sales teams can then use to understand and prioritize their accounts as they progress to revenue opportunities. So if awareness and traffic is the goal, what’s the strategy? Brand.

As a reformed B2B demand gen marketer myself, I know how that might sound questionable. You need to be measured on numbers, and brand is notoriously unquantifiable. Our CEO (and a former badass CMO), Tim Kopp, explained how brand drives demand on an episode of The Roof.

The Power of Brand

If you didn’t watch the video, here’s the key sentence: “Think about the biggest traffic days on your website. It wasn’t advertising, it was a big announcement, product enhancement, etc.” Creating a magnetic brand is so much more important than just raw lead generation.

Are you supposed to give up leads? If we’re talking about leads as raw marketing performance, then yes, absolutely, get rid of ‘em. If we’re talking about leads as qualified inbound requests who know what you’re about and need help making a buying decision, then no. Here’s the thing though: If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably not a highly transactional, product-led solution that would benefit from a coordinated go-to-market strategy. 

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Leveraging the authority of LinkedIn influencers for B2B

Most B2B marketers immediately dismiss influencer marketing as a vacuous activity only undertaken by their B2C counterparts to sell pretty packaging through anxiety-riddled models in between a morning green tea cleanse product post and a beach sunset photo.

It is far more complex and nuanced of a subject.

For B2B enterprises, the decision to employ influencer marketing comes down to a few key questions:

  1. Which influencer type is ideal?
  2. What KPI is the influencer being measured against?
  3. Which channel makes the most sense for this campaign?
  4. How does an enterprise go about creating and managing an effective influencer campaign based on the above?

To keep this discussion brief, influencers can generally be classified into three categorical buckets: aspirational, authoritative, and peer. As a definition, the aspirational influencer is a celebrity type, often with a large following, aspirational influencers are what most think of when visualizing what an influencer might look like.

The peer influencer, by contrast, is the everyday dad stopping at the grocery store on the way home from the office, your fishing enthusiast uncle on Facebook, or you to your next-door neighbor.

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The Evolution of B2B Marketing: From Cost to Growth

Since I started my career in B2B marketing—nearly twenty years ago—I’ve seen this industry fundamentally change what it does and how it does it. In this article I want to explore some of these changes and show how they’ve redefined the role of today’s marketer.

But first, let’s remind ourselves how things used to work…

Before I got into marketing, I worked as an auditor in a Big Four accountancy firm. A few months in, I knew it wasn’t for me. I wanted to be creating something rather than checking what other people had done.

Then something amazing happened. I was asked to work on a marketing project. My first thought was… wait, we have a marketing department? That sounds like fun! And right away I realized I’d found my home.

Back then, B2B marketing was mostly seen as a creative endeavor. Metrics and KPIs were general at best, nonexistent at worst. You only really had data on things like who attended an event, how many contacts received direct mail, and so on.

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Intent data is the future of B2B marketing

Using intent data to gain a better understanding of your audience is fast becoming the future of B2B marketing.

One of the main barriers when it comes to utilising intent data is that it’s hard to define its true value. Intent data provides a deeper understanding of the buyer journey and how customers make purchase decisions. This article covers what intent data is and outlines how you can use this information to implement better lead generation strategies.

What is intent data?

Intent data provides businesses with insight into the process users go through when looking to buy their product or solution. It does this by tracking intent search terms through a combination of IP addresses and cookies and is collated using a range of digital sources. Intent data notifies businesses that their customers are in an active buying journey, allowing them to focus their marketing strategy on those prepared to purchase and boost conversions.

Types of intent data

Intent data can be either first-party or third-party. Third-party data comes from sources and websites other than your own; there are several third-party data providers that collect data from thousands of high-value analyst sites like Gartner, as well as publications like Forbes, and bucket this data into relevant audiences.

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Where Does Thought Leadership Marketing Fit In Each Stage Of The TOFU, MOFU And BOFU Models?

Thought leaders challenge barriers and conventional wisdom. Some are influencers, others are tech leaders with a portfolio of successful innovations. So how can you become a thought leader, keep building credibility and provide value to your audience wherever they are in the marketing funnel?

Here, I share the best types of thought leadership content to use at the top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU).

What are the benefits of thought leadership marketing?

Thought leadership positions your company, product or brand as an authority within the specific market segment you compete in. In my experience, a thought leadership marketing program will elevate your brand's profile, leading to more sales and increased influence in the market. You'll also uncover new opportunities as your profile grows. An additional benefit is greater pricing power. Edelman's 2019 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study revealed that 60% of C-suite executives are willing to pay a premium rate for a product or service from a company that has thought leadership as part of their philosophy.

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B2B Content Isn’t Boring Unless Your Writing Is

It’s a common refrain: “We’re a B2B company. We can’t do the same things those B2C funsters get up to.” Another good one is, “Our product/industry/niche is just too serious and boring for content marketing.”

But it’s also worth pointing out that shedloads of content are published every day for which “boring” might be a polite description (“predictable” and “unnecessary” would be others.) I regularly come across reports, white papers, and articles that would require me to stab myself repeatedly in the leg with a fork simply to stay awake beyond the opening paragraphs.

I’m sure the marketers publishing this content wouldn’t say it’s boring. Perhaps they don’t always realize it is. Perhaps internal feedback convinced them the world really is desperate for an academic thesis on interlocking flanges … or something. Perhaps, as can be the case in B2B, the content was written to satisfy an internal audience – a C-suite eager for the brand to appear smarter than the competition on everything to do with flanges.

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Lead Conversion Statistics All B2B Marketers Need to Know

B2B marketing is complex with a myriad of tactics, technologies, and data solutions to choose from to promote your business and sell your products and services.

As complex as modern B2B marketing is, it is also as simple as:

  • How do I attract people to my products and services
  • How do I convert those people to purchase?

Ascend2, in partnership with Verse, surveyed 277 marketing professionals to learn more about the state of lead conversion.

If you find that lead conversion is difficult, you are not alone. The State of Lead Conversion in Marketing and Sales found that only 12% of marketing professionals are very satisfied with their lead conversion abilities.

Companies continue to struggle with establishing contact, qualifying, and effectively following up with the leads they spend so much time and money to generate. Lead conversion is challenging, but the inability to improve lead conversion rates has several significant, negative downstream impacts: wasted marketing budget, wasted sales team time, and significant lost revenue opportunity.

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