This year, the pressure on marketing to deliver will rise. Changes in buyer behaviour, business structures and flailing outbound sales efforts are just a few reasons why…

As the pandemic continues to change the way businesses operate, we’ll see some interesting things happen for both buyers and sellers in the B2B space.

For instance, sales teams will need to continue to adapt. They’re operating in a digital space now so there are new skills to learn and strategies to employ.

I’m still seeing sales teams engage in the same way they did pre-pandemic and it’s disconcerting. The same can be said for marketing. Change is hard but that growth is inevitable if you want to continue to be effective in your role.

Previously dependable strategies and activities will fall short meaning it’s time for everyone to roll their sleeves up. In this article, I cover key problem areas that will impact B2B tech companies going forward.

1. A lack of marketing leadership

Across the industry, there’s a trend where the Head of Marketing or VP of Marketing is reporting to the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) or another form of sales leadership.

This seems to be happening across small to large enterprises, you may also see other departments such as customer success and marketing coupled together to sit beneath the CRO.

This is going to cause a few problems.

Firstly, many CROs don’t have marketing expertise. This will undoubtedly create tension because they’ll look at marketing activities from the lens of sales.

This seller-centric view sits against the marketing philosophy which is more customer-centric and about delivering value.

This will essentially create poor marketing practices with reliance on expensive online events (digital vendor shows aren’t any better than the physical). We’ll see budget and resources allocated to performance marketing to drive leads and MQLs because it’s easily measurable and correlates to the sales development function.

Essentially any activity that’s non-transactional will be considered not worth doing. This means sponsored partner webinars, content syndication, brand marketing will be left behind.

When the CRO believes MQLs are the only measure of success it’s a problem. Instead, we should look at demo requests, bookings, pipeline increase.

2. Archaic operations and oversized sales teams

The funnel approach is still the template for how many marketing and sales teams operate. Let marketing generate 10,000 leads, let the SDRs follow up so they’re not twiddling their thumbs. Then see 0.1% of the leads convert to 10 closed-won deals whilst the SDRs complain that there’s no buying intent.

When you focus on driving your business around low buying intent this is the result.

Instead, split resources between building market demand and finding high buying intent channels. Generating sat 1,000 leads that convert at 12% resulting 120 closed-won deals and lower CAC costs.

The trouble is, businesses will stick to the initial model because they hired too many sales reps and don’t know what to do with them. This situation can also occur when business growth targets are too high (which is usually due to overselling growth to investors or in a bid to get a higher evaluation). And finally, it can also happen when marketing as a channel isn’t performing and sales need to carry the weight.

3. Content that’s still gated

Buyers are in the driving seat and have access to a huge amount of information. If you’re going to gate content that your buyers find useful they’ll simply find the information elsewhere.

Do not gate your content, whether that’s educational pain point pieces or deeper level case studies.

Gated content should only go on content that’s insanely valuable (a monster research report you can’t get anywhere else and even you would pay for) or your highest intent pages where buyers were always going to convert, such as demo requests.

4. Bots that deliver little buyers

On average, less than 10% of the revenue for B2B businesses comes through chatbots. Buyers will still predominantly convert through demo forms and if we consider all of those instances where they chose chat instead, we can guarantee that they would have converted on the form if there wasn’t a bot available. You’re simply shifting the channel the conversion is attributed to.

However, live chat is good and much more valuable to people. Here your sales team can answer questions. A great tactic is to target high intent keywords via PPC that go to a landing page where prospects can initiate live chat and sales can work the deal.

Chatbot companies are going to hit a problem, people are just buying into the hype.

5. You’re still not using video content

Video assets are really important. There are still an abundance of businesses who aren’t making it quick and easy for buyers to understand their platform.

A quality video output must captures attention in the first 5 seconds. I recommend starting with the prospects pain point followed by your value proposition. You can also test your pain points by mixing them up and seeing which video converts the highest.

The quality of the visuals and engagement also really matter. If you get Bob who’s your cousin’s best mate that in his spare time plays about with after effects then you’ll get the same kind of results in terms of conversion. You need some production quality.

For converting prospects through videos, focus on case study testimonials with your customers and product-led videos. Make sure you get to the point quickly, for instance ‘we were struggling with this problem until we found this platform’.

Videos will have a lifetime so make sure you keep hitting it hard if you see success.

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