B2B marketing: our 3 “Quick Wins” for 2023!
In this practical guide, the editors offer you three Quick Wins – good B2B marketing resolutions to aim for in 2023. Objective: maximise sales performance in 2023.
On the menu: the rebel project of Sales-Marketing alignment, the paradigm of Sales Content, the demystification of the video format and the art of the LinkedIn post. We’re off!
1- Boosting Sales-Marketing alignment through content
Initiated in the early 2000s, digital transformation has enabled companies to activate a number of performance levers, from the automation of redundant tasks to the measurement of marketing attribution, the improvement of ‘customer knowledge’ and the rationalisation of decision-making.
However, there is still one stubborn area of work: the alignment of Sales and Marketing, which seems to be resisting the SalesTech and MarTech boom. Yet the stakes are high.
- 60% of B2B decision-makers believe that misalignment has a negative impact on a company’s economic and financial performance (LinkedIn);
- According to ZoomInfo, around 70% of the content created by marketers is never used by salespeople, which drastically reduces the ROI of content marketing and pushes salespeople to spend more time on content than on sales. As a result, salespeople are spending up to half their day on tasks that are indirectly linked to sales (McKinsey)… an observation that is all the more worrying given that sales resources are scarce and expensive in France, with a shortage of 200,000 profiles according to Michael Page;
- Proper alignment boosts the conversion rate by 67% (Marketo).
For the back-to-school season, marketers can initiate a few measures to take a step towards alignment and land a few Quick Wins.
- Marketing is responsible for branding, building brand awareness, generating leads from an inbound perspective, and so on. Alongside this “Top of the Funnel” orientation, teams need to revive a somewhat neglected aspect: Sales Content, i.e. content that is commissioned, devised and created to support salespeople in their meetings. In fact, Forbes refers to the “necessary paradigm shift in content creation strategy” to give greater importance to “Sales Content”. For the marketing manager, the first step is to educate and raise awareness among the sales and marketing teams;
- Include salespeople in the editorial loop. Their feedback from the field should guide the themes to be addressed in the content, the formats to be favoured, the tone to be used, etc.
- Increase the number of communication links between Sales and Marketing: a common Slack channel at the very least (led by someone responsible for encouraging synergy between the two teams on the content side), or a Sales Enablement tool enabling the marketing manager to generate KPIs on the performance of the content with salespeople. They will then be able to identify the common characteristics of the content most frequently used in meetings so that they can fine-tune their editorial approach;
- Encourage the formats that perform best with your target audience. Each market has its own characteristics, but certain formats seem to be favoured by B2B buyers, whatever the sector: short videos, case studies and infographics. In short, it’s all about making things fun and digestible without compromising on substance;
- Implement harmonised rules for content terminology in the resource library. In concrete terms, the files made available to sales staff must have explicit names. For example, “Customer case – Business sector – Type of issue – Year” is preferable to a cryptic name such as “Document XYZ”. The idea is to encourage sales staff to click on and adhere to the content created by marketing in order to give impetus to this dynamic of continuous improv
2- Demystifying and appropriating the video format
According to i2c, millennials now account for 75% of B2B purchasing decisions. Without getting too generational, this audience seems to be more receptive to visual, interactive and even entertaining formats. A Brightcove x Ascend 2 study investigated the impact of video on the B2B buying journey among 300 American decision-makers.
- Video is “a valuable decision-making aid” for 95% of those surveyed;
- It is the format that “adds the most value during the purchasing phase” for 70% of B2B decision-makers;
- 81% of B2B buyers prefer to watch a video to understand a complex product offering.
Here’s a Quick Win: decision-makers don’t necessarily expect polished videos produced by professional teams to advertising agency standards. Mobile phone clips featuring an expert giving advice, for example, may suffice.
Also on the programme: videos showing what goes on behind the scenes at the company, documenting a customer testimonial or distilling advice on how to use the solution being marketed. With a very reasonable training effort, companies can help B2B marketers get to grips with the new audiovisual tools designed for the uninitiated.
3- Mastering the art of LinkedIn posts
With more than 20 million registered users in France, i.e. two-thirds of the working population, LinkedIn has consolidated its hegemony in B2B social jousting during the pandemic period. The figures are impressive: 80% of messages are read, 40% of users consult LinkedIn daily and 60% say they “respond to requests on LinkedIn”.
This dynamic has naturally led marketers and salespeople to step up their actions on Microsoft’s social network to demonstrate their expertise, ‘nurture’ the audience, generate traffic on the company website and engage in Social Selling… with mixed results.
According to a LinkedIn x Edelman study, 71% of B2B decision-makers believe that half of the content they consume on social media does not add value to them. Here’s LinkedIn’s advice on how to put things right.
- The content is deemed bland, corporate, and filled with jargon (even Newspeak);
- Decision-makers are more receptive to content endorsed and promoted by an individual (rather than a brand);
- They expect bold ideas that disrupt the status quo;
- They prefer a more friendly, less formal form, but with substance.
Quick Win: the search for consensus is not always relevant. It’s better to disagree with some of your target audience than to be ignored by 100% of them.