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Digital technology has changed the way B2B businesses reach out to their buyers. In the past, B2B companies relied on personal relationships, industry events, or cold-calling to build their brands. The human element was vital to lead generation strategies and overall business growth. However, since then, modern advancements have drastically changed the way we use B2B technology in the business landscape.
Businesses nowadays need to take advantage of technology when it comes to their B2B marketing and operations strategies. Without adopting modern software and revolutionary practices, you’ll get left behind because your competitors are already onboard.
Would a B2B buyer want to do business with a company that refuses to invest in modern technology? Highly unlikely. Buyers are impressed with companies that bravely invest and experiment with new trends in modern technology. Innovation and progression have become the new prerequisite to success.
Here are some modern technologies that you need to look out for this year.
Last year, technology for Account-Based Marketing (ABM) emerged, as more B2B technology companies adopted this strategy. There are platforms available for every stage of ABM—from account identification and advertising to measurement and reporting.
In the very near future, SaaS providers will start providing end-to-end ABM platforms that integrate data across all marketing systems—from their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to their Marketing Automation System (MAS).
To make ABM platforms even smarter, artificial intelligence (AI) technology can be combined with ABM to truly understand target accounts. As such, B2B marketers will be able to better deliver the personalized experiences that buyers crave.
Blockchain technology undoubtedly disrupted the FinTech industry last year. The technology offers a faster yet encrypted transaction, which can help both B2B companies and buyers feel more secure about the deals that they make online.
Now, tech companies are looking at this breakthrough technology and how it can be applied in various industries beyond FinTech. Expect the emergence of blockchain applications in B2B lead generation strategies, marketing, and sales this 2018.
Take your marketing automation strategy up a notch with bots. Research shows B2B companies that don’t respond to leads within five minutes decrease their chances of qualifying a lead by 400%. And because conversations are more personal than signup forms, employing the use of chatbots in lead qualification has become a growing trend.
You can even create personalized, targeted messages for every page on your website, so that leads visiting one webpage will get a unique script than a different lead visiting another webpage.
While bots will never replace human intuition and insight, they can still help B2B marketers and sales professionals segment and qualify leads more efficiently. Chatbots can help handle multiple conversations at a time, so your sales team is freed up to focus on closing sales.
A couple of years ago, the mobile game Pokémon Go became hugely popular, and people were excited to hit the augmented reality of once familiar streets. The game placed virtual reality and augmented reality in the spotlight and made businesses take a second look at the technology and how it could be applied to further their marketing and sales efforts.
The real estate industry is already using it to show home buyers what it feels like to live in the homes they’re selling. In 2018, more companies will explore how this interactive technology can help buyers understand the value of products and services.
For instance, outsourcing companies can help foreign investors and stakeholders immerse themselves in what a day at the office looks like despite being on the other side of the ocean. It can help potential clients understand the daily processes and workflows of their offshore team. Just one of the reasons why VR and AR have business applications that are worth trying.
Today, more than half of B2B search queries are done from a smartphone, and a recent study projects that by 2020, 70% of B2B inquiries will be from a mobile device. Buyers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and are regularly switching from one device to another.
Also, optimized mobile strategies fast-track the time to purchase by 20% and contribute over 40% of revenue in leading B2B companies. More importantly, B2B buyers are no longer tethered to their desks, making it imperative to adopt a mobile-first strategy.
The modern age has brought a range of mobile technologies to the B2B industry. The combination of feature-rich apps, effortless integration, and complex mobile-specific analytics makes new mobile technology worth considering.
Big Data may be old news and has long been accepted as an efficient and effective way to personalize marketing campaigns. But the truth is, big data set the benchmark for good marketing by showing the importance of a tailored message. One key area of application is in advertising, which involves leveraging big data to get to know your target market on a deeper level so that you can appeal to what’s important to them.
With this, comes the emergence of programmatic advertising. Although B2C companies generally use programmatic advertising, AdTech app providers such as PureB2B have already made steady progress with its adoption for B2B content syndication and lead generation strategies.
The modern B2B tech landscape is poised to become more innovative in the coming years to empower marketers and sales professionals with savvier, more effective tools to help you reach your bottom line.
Make sure you’re keeping up with the latest developments in B2B technology, so you can act fast when the time comes to innovate or do something new.
Have you come across any amazing B2B technologies recently? Let us know about it in the comments!
Marketing has been around for a very long time. Think about it. Since people first started engaging in commercial trade, they’ve learned how to develop unique selling propositions and sales strategies to maximize the perceived value of their offerings.
When we look at marketing technology, we can see that it’s enabled various channels such as print media, radio, and television for marketers to reach their audiences. Back in the day, these technologies were highly innovative and provided huge opportunities for brands to communicate. Fast forward to now, these channels have become common contributors to many, many marketing strategies.
The new technological age has also brought about the inception of the internet. Since the early 90’s the internet has evolved into the most flexible marketing channel we’ve ever seen. As a customer, you’ve seen online ads, search engine rankings, social media, and hundreds of different content marketing formats.
The dynamic nature of the internet has caused a massive shift in media consumption habits. The traditional channels of television, radio, and print media have seen a decline in usage as more users start looking at online platforms as their primary sources of media. This is great for marketers because online channels allow for better targeting, tracking, and analytics. It facilitates the increased adoption of various marketing automation software, allowing brands to grow more cost-effectively.
The birth of marketing technology happened sometime in the 80’s, when computers became powerful enough to store large volumes of customer information. In 1986, ACT!, a customer management company, developed the first ever database marketing software, basically a primitive CRM platform. Since then, a multitude of more sophisticated marketing automation platforms have emerged with better UIs and more useful features.
As a matter of fact, if you’re not making use of a modern marketing automation tool, you’re probably missing out on a huge opportunity to make your internal processes quicker and more efficient.
Below are the different types of marketing automation your brand needs to consider:
It’s always good news when you have a lot of customers, but it can get tiresome to manage them when you don’t have an effective system for collecting, storing, and retrieving customer data. Timely customer service is good customer service, which is why businesses are increasingly looking to CRM software to help provide a better customer experience.
This software stores personal information such as names, job titles, company names, and email address. More importantly, information like purchase history and details of interactions between the customer and the business can be collected by a CRM software. This allows the business to personalize the interaction each customer interaction.
More popular CRM software includes Salesforce and Zoho, but the size and nature of your business requirements will determine what type of CRM tool will best fit your needs.
Despite being one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, email marketing still provides the best ROI in the business. So it should be no surprise to learn that it’s also the most widely used digital marketing channel. However, one of the main issues with email marketing is scalability, which is where email marketing software comes in.
Email marketing tools allow you to automate the messages you send to your contacts. Whether it’s trigger-based (initiated by the email receiver) or an email blast (triggered by the email sender), these automation tools facilitate the large-scale distribution of personalized messages along with performance measurement dashboards.
But just because it’s automated, that doesn’t mean that you should let the quality of your emails drop. Most email tools allow for the personalization of subject lines, body text, and appropriate calls-to-action. You should always make the user feel like they’re the sole recipient of your email.
Many marketing automation tools have email marketing platforms built in, but if you’re looking for a standalone email marketing tool, Litmus and MailChimp are very popular choices.
From managing your day-to-day content to creating landing pages for your website, marketing automation platforms are your all-in-one tool. If you want to drive traffic to your website, set up marketing campaigns, or inbound marketing strategies these kinds of software have the function for you.
For example, HubSpot can set up workflows for you to map out the customer journey. Meanwhile, Marketo promotes the ability of their software to predict ROI and achieve it. And Eloqua capitalizes on their unified system where data across all channels such as paid and SEO can be tracked and analyzed.
Keep in mind that all-in-one marketing automation software can be expensive, so make sure you’ve determined the need for one before going out and making a purchase decision.
Social media is one of the best channels for businesses so reach and engage with their audiences. Social media is mostly used to give quick updates about the business, blog, and sometimes, product and services. But lately, businesses have been seeing more success when keeping promotional messaging to a minimum and just using social media as a channel to promote engagement and display brand personality.
This “non-promotional” social media strategy makes it difficult to automate because the nature of being personable means not sounding like a robot, which is what automation can result in. But social media marketing tools can still be used to help with scheduling, network management, and measuring the performance of your social media efforts.
Some of the most popular tools out there right now are Buffer, Clout, and Crowdfire. All of which offer a horde of different features that you can use to optimize your social marketing efforts.
Measuring the performance of marketing strategies is usually the step that marketers tend to neglect, which should be a big no-no. You should always look back at your efforts to figure out what worked and what didn’t so you can focus on the best strategies and maximize ROI.
Marketing Analytics software allows you to get usable data such as visitor behavior and activity. Further, it can combine data from different channels for easier comparison of effective channels.
Google Analytics is probably the most used analytics tool. Other popular tools being utilized in the industry now are Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Buzzsumo.
These types of marketing automation software are the answers to your marketing efficiency and scalability dilemmas. They’re here to assist you in efficiently launching your marketing strategies.
Don’t forget that not every tool works for all types of business. You should study each tool and identify the strengths that would best align with your marketing goals.
Once you’ve set up your marketing automation, you’re going to want to know how to create a lead generation machine. Download our free Checklist for Crafting the Perfect Landing Page to Generate B2B Leads today!
Leads are great, but there’s a long road between a lead and a sale. Converting prospects into revenue requires marketers everywhere to manage and nurture an on-going relationship with their leads. This usually entails the long hard task of separating legitimate prospects from duds, organizing data, and consistently tracking key leads on a regular basis.
When it gets right down to it, manual lead management can be a huge, boring, and largely inefficient task. Fortunately, there are all sorts of tools that can help your company get the job done faster.
Here are some of our favorites:
Setting your sales team up for success right in the inbox is a great way to get a handle on lead management. Rapportive is a useful tool that can upgrade popular email services to help you make faster decisions about your audience. It automatically displays relevant information about contacts pulling from online sources such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
Another tool that can optimize email is Boomerang, which can schedule an unlimited number of emails to go out at a specified date and time. The app can also filter important emails you need to be reminded about so that they automatically appear at the top of your inbox.
One way to alleviate the pains of lead management is by looking for hidden sales functions. For instance, Google Groups, which is tucked away in Google Apps, is a tool that can help you efficiently share contacts and email addresses with particular groups of employees.
All you have to do is create a group within Google; for instance, everyone working on a particular sales project. Then simply forward emails or share contacts without worrying about adding each member to a new thread.
Another app that possesses surprising hidden sales functions is Apple’s Address Book. This App has a useful notes function for storing relationship statuses, company web pages, and instant message handles. This allows you to fill out various contact fields, share contacts via email, and sync everything with your other Apple devices.
Turn your smartphone into the ultimate sales tool. Smartr Contacts by the San Francisco-based Xobni is a free tool that can make your address book smarter by shifting the focus to managing relationships instead of email addresses and phone numbers. The app pulls updates from social media, recent emails, and other contact data into one place—allowing users to get immediately up to speed on their prospects.
Social media integration is an absolute must-have in any sales arsenal. You can generate customer data by monitoring your company’s social media activity with web-based tools like Sprout Social. This tool gives you a better idea of who is using or, at least, talking about your services. It’s a great way to keep track of your list of Facebook friends and Twitter followers all in one place.
Sales Genius allows you to send trackable emails through Microsoft Outlook, making it easy for current Outlook users to integrate this app into their small business. The app maintains a detailed history of sales leads’ website visits, telling you when and how often a prospect is looking at your site. It also automatically notifies you when you should contact that prospect based on how often they visit.
Continuous lead management is an important part of any healthy business. Lead management tools are a smart way to stay on top of the constantly changing market to help your company stay on top.
What’s your favorite lead management tool? Did it make the list? Tell us about it below!
Thinking about outsourcing your lead generation function? Don’t forget to read our FREE guide!