The digital challenges in B2B marketing
In the B2B space, digital can be hard to get right. You have to catch the potential buyer’s attention in a very crowded marketplace, where we are already pretty desensitised and mistrustful of online advertising and email marketing in general.
It’s particularly challenging given the education journey required to purchase many B2B IT solutions, especially at the enterprise level where budgets are high, stakeholders are many and buying cycles are long. The products are often far too complex to be bought in the classic B2C e-commerce environment – somewhere along the way a conversation with experienced sales reps, product specialists and integration consultants will likely be required.
At the same time, we know that B2B customers are expecting somewhat of a B2C experience in their buying journey – they want to have a rich content experience that will enable them to self-serve the information they need, when they need it.
The challenges of digital marketing in the B2B space
- High competition: The digital space is a highly saturated environment, and customers are inundated with the content they are exposed to, whether in their email inbox or social feeds. This has created an audience which is desensited to advertising, meaning digital campaigns need to stand out and be relevant to customers’ needs in order to grab the attention of the target audience.
- Lack of focus: Digital encompasses a wide range of activities and platforms – programmatic advertising, paid social, email automation, SEM and SEO. This means that businesses run the risk of stretching their marketing resources too thin as they attempt to have a presence on every available platform. The best and most effective digital strategies are laser focused on matching the right audiences to the right platform at the right time.
- Lack of actionable insight: In digital it is hard to understand the full impact the campaign has had. Whilst you can collect a lot of metrics, it can be hard to connect some types of engagement with real action – whether because privacy laws limit tracking on digital ads or because form fills collect unreliable or insufficient information. Digital can only work when it is supported and enriched with additional insights form data and BDR teams.
Integrating digital marketing and lead generation
On the one hand, every marketer loves to do digital. It’s creative and strategic, and most importantly it gives fantastic metrics that can demonstrate the value of the marketing team´s hard work.
However, sales can struggle to understand the value of this work if it doesn’t necessarily translate into immediate revenue. We´ve written previously about how in some cases just 1.5% of marketing leads translate to sales.
This tension means marketing teams end up treating digital as completely separate from their lead generation programmes, or at least confine it to the awareness stage of their funnel. This means that they miss the opportunity to provide real insights that can have a real impact on sales revenue.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. In our experience, digital can be an incredible tool that accelerates the customer journey – both through demonstrating value and creating opportunities for prospects to raise their hands when they are in-market.
How can digital support B2B sales?
When integrated correctly, focused digital campaigns can be integral towards achieving specific goals throughout the sales cycle. When digital campaigns are run simultaneously with a complete BDR outreach strategy, this can:
- Aid customer education on complex products
- Help identify in-market customers
- Warm up older leads to push them through the funnel
- Nurture opt-ins, MQIs and MQLs with targeted content
- Help prioritise target accounts
- Optimise pipeline – keep audience warm without badgering them, prospects’ behaviour can send interest signals avoiding waste in your pipeline
By achieving these objectives, sales and marketing teams can ignite their sales strategy and accelerate pipeline generation. Despite the challenges, digital marketing is a valuable tool for B2B sales when done well.
BNZSA offers Ultra-Nurture, a lead nurturing services which integrates data and telemarketing to create well-rounded, successful lead generation campaigns. In part 2 we will discuss the value of using Ultra-Nurture in your pipeline generation strategy, and how it can be implemented in different ways, based on your needs and objectives.