In the B2B marketing business, there aren’t just one or two challenges that marketers are facing. Implementing the best tactics when trends never stay the same for too long can seem like a rollercoaster. On top of it all, many times each decision must be approved by an important decision-maker in the company.
Below we are sharing three of the top B2B marketing challenges in the industry. Overcoming challenges isn’t easy, but with the right approach, they’re easier to manage until you reach the wanted success. So, how do you overcome these three common challenges in the B2B marketing industry in order to optimize marketing activities?
Challenge #1: Keeping the target prospects engaged
According to a Chiefmarketer survey, getting targeted prospects to engage is the number #1 B2B marketing challenge that marketers are facing in their lead generation efforts. Leads are cold while reaching out and following back is something you already did. So, how do you keep leads engaged until they’re ready to make the purchase?
You can start off by including qualifying questions in your inquiry or intake form. These questions separate the hot prospects from the leads who aren’t interested in making any purchase. Also, it allows you to dig deeper into the needs of these prospects. The data from the qualifying questions you can prepare yourself in advance to address these needs when communicating with prospects. Here are a few questions to consider:
1. What are the top challenges you are experiencing at the moment?
2. What results are you expecting to achieve?
3. How achieving the wanted results will benefit your company?
With this information, you will be able to rank the prospects according to their needs and how urgent they are. Therefore, your approach will be updated accordingly as well. You will also be able to send customized and relevant emails and get prospects to engage more with you.
Another powerful way to keep prospects engaged is by web retargeting. Depending on where the prospects are in your sales funnel, retarget them with ads based on their previous behavior. For example, if a prospect is in the middle funnel, meaning they already expressed an interest in a certain product or service, re-engage them with a general ad about that category. For users who are one step away from buying, show them an ad with the items they were looking at. However, give them an incentive such as free shipping or a discount.
Knowing the pain points of the prospects puts you in a position where you can send them the right type of content that would show them how you can help them. This can be an ebook, infographic or brochure. These materials should have more of a sales approach. Provide answers to the main questions of the prospects to motivate them a step further to making a sale.
Challenge #2: Proving ROI from marketing efforts
Many marketers feel the pressure to prove ROI from their marketing efforts. In fact, this is the second biggest challenge that marketers are facing in their work, and it is also the second biggest reason why they aren’t able to get the c-suite approval on marketing expenditure. How do you prove the success of a marketing activity when it can’t be strictly measured?
Difficulties arise when you use more channels for marketing purposes, and when you don’t know which KPIs are important for your client’s success. For that reason, you need to define what KPIs you are going to measure. This primarily depends on your goal or your client’s goal. So, you can measure KPIs such as sales revenue, site traffic, organic search, or social media reach.
When the marketing team clearly knows what the KPIs are, it will be easier for them to measure costs associated with each marketing activity. We’re talking for technical and design associated costs. Also, it is a good idea to prepare monthly ROI reports for each campaign. It will be more evident where there’s a potential growth and what needs to be improved.
Based on the results of each marketing activity, you can modify the budget accordingly. Meaning, you will spend on those activities that are more successful than the rest, while you come up with new ways to make the other, not-so-successful tactics to work.
Proving ROI means being financially accountable and this can be challenging. Many times it’s hard to point out what activity did most of the job when all of them function in cohesion. However, monitoring regularly each campaign and each channel will give you an insight into how each is progressing over time, so it will be easier for you to predict certain results and take actions accordingly.
Challenge #3: Development of account-based marketing
In the past few years, the account-based approach became a core element of a B2B marketing strategy. However, the implementation can be challenging because it requires to narrow down the prospects as much as possible and to have a very specific outreach. So, what has to be done in order to reap the benefits of the account-based marketing approach?
First, you start by identifying the right target for your company. Not knowing what type of clients your company needs and still making serious lead generation efforts is like shooting in the dark. That’s why you need to create a buyer persona and define other factors that would tell if this persona is a great fit for your company’s product or service. Once you have created the ideal customer profile, it’s time to focus on the content marketing aspect of your B2B marketing strategy.
Unlike in B2C, where a generic message can be sent to a large number of customers, in B2B marketing the personalization is essential for your strategy’s success. The more personalized and relevant the content is, the better chances you have with prospects.
We’re not only talking about mentioning your prospect’s name, job position or the company they work for. It’s also important to understand what their pain points are and how to use this information in a way that would show your prospects that you are here to help. Instead of continuously writing about your company, your content marketing strategy should actually focus on the buyer’s concerns and needs.
When it comes to using different channels for distributing the content, a little market research won’t hurt. For example, if your target audience are c-level executives, then posting the content on LinkedIn is a better idea than sharing it on your company’s Facebook profile. In fact, B2B marketers stated that most of their leads came from LinkedIn!).
Compare the results of each channel to know which is most effective. For the next campaign, you can target more and focus the budget on spending less on the other channels.
BONUS B2B MARKETING CHALLENGE
#4: Aligning the B2B marketing & sales team into SMARKETING
In the age of the customer, the smarketing (sales + marketing) process is inevitable. It represents the integration between the marketing and the sales team. In order to know more about the customers, both teams need to cooperate on a regular basis. Any misalignment between the two yearly costs the B2B companies 10% of the revenue or even more.
However, these teams work as separate departments and their integration can be very challenging. If this is the biggest B2B marketing challenge you’re facing, you must invest in the communication between the two departments. It is the key to the integration between the teams.
Without seamless communication, it would be hard to integrate and ensure an error-free workflow. To make this happen, set up regular meetings. The two teams should review the work they did and discuss further actions. It’s also very important to encourage them to share constructive feedback and to share their knowledge with colleagues from the other team when there’s a need.
Besides business communication, creating opportunities where the two teams can get to know each other personally might also help. Once the people from each team feel comfortable with each other on a personal level, the communication between the departments will have an easier flow. For this, organizing a team-building is a great idea, if the circumstances allow it. If not, you can organize after-work meetups or in-office team building activities.
From a technical point of view, the two teams also need a shared filling platform where they can upload and share business-related materials. With this, every team member should have access to the information. It will optimize the integration and help both teams to work more effectively.
The results of the smarketing integration can be amazing if you’re doing it properly. Companies whose marketing and sales team cooperate effectively can generate 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts. Are you willing to be one of them?
It’s not about trends causing difficulties, but rather not having enough strategic approach towards challenges right from the start. Develop a clear strategy and vision about where the road should take you until you reach the end goal. It will spare you from wondering where did you go wrong in the midst of work chaos, uncoordinated teams, and mixed channel results.
These common B2B marketing challenges show exactly how internal alignment between the teams, processes, and technology is what’s going to help you to overcome them.
If you need support with overcoming the major B2B challenges your company is going through, do not hesitate to contact Alite International. We have been working with multiple large organizations in supporting their move towards full marketing automation. Send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.