Increasing Your Business's B2B Marketing Success Rate in 2016: Part 1

Posted by Grace McMeekin

BKM Marketing CEO Bruce McMeekin recently presented at the 2016 NEDMA conference to highlight the best approaches that B2B marketers can deploy to improve lead generation and sales.

This is the first post in a series of blogs that incorporate key tips based on business buying behavior.

Post 1: Key Trends in Business Purchasing

Before planning your marketing and sales tactics, it is helpful to understand how your audience likes to buy.

A Bredin survey in February, 2016, which includes 314 owners of small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs), provides insight as to how business owners prefer to engage with sellers.

In this post, we will be discussing the four key takeaways from the Bredin Business Purchase Behavior Study.

1. The empowered buyer trend is stronger than ever

Marketing must educate prospects, and sales must make it easy for prospects to buy. Most SMBs have completed Internet research before speaking with a sales rep. When asked which aspects of the purchasing decision (or buyer’s journey) they have already conducted before contacting a sales person, roughly 50% have both researched solutions and defined their purchase requirements. Buyers continue to do more of the educational work themselves and often know more about what they are buying than the sales people themselves. It is important for marketers to publish educational, unbiased content about what they are selling.

Buyer Activities Prior to Contacting Sales

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Source: Bredin Business Purchase Behavior Study, February, 2016

2. The timing of messaging is more important than ever

Marketing technology has progressed to the point where it is easy to track when your buyers are ready to engage. Here are some key signs that your buyers are ready to contact you:

  • Their activity on your website increases
  • They have clicked through online ads regularly
  • They are opening your emails more frequently

Whatever your contact trigger may be, it is important that sellers are ready with the right response at the right time. Be sure to use special incentives, such as percentage off, free shipping, or a free added service. Inform your sales team when a prospective buyer is on your site using a notification tool such as HubSpot’s Sidekick for Business. This tool can send real-time alerts to sales people so they can make a timely phone call to follow up on a buyer’s interest.

If you are not using marketing automation technology yet, it is time to begin looking at options. Many software platforms offer the ability to time messaging on your buyer’s schedule (measured from the time of their first visit to your website) rather than your sales team’s schedule for meeting quotas.

3. Content marketing with email promotions and telephone follow-ups work best

The Bredin survey yielded insight into the power of content marketing and effective email and phone follow-ups.

Likelihood of buying from a company that offers business management tips and advice on their site.

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Source: Bredin Business Purchase Behavior Study, February, 2016

New, up-and-coming medium-to-large sized business are more likely to buy from a company whose site offers helpful insight on how to improve their business. By posting helpful content on your site, you are attracting business owners who are researching advice, and by helping them you are positioning yourself as a friendly thoughtleader. These young, growth-oriented businesses are more likely to become loyal customers.

First B2B Contact Preferences

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Source: Bredin Business Purchase Behavior Study, February, 2016

Most business owners prefer that other businesses contact them the first time via a phone call or an email with a promotion, discount, or special. Many also said that receiving direct mail was an effective first contact.

Second B2B Contact Preferences     

Blog4.png                                                                                                                                                      Source: Bredin Business Purchase Behavior Study, February, 2016

Once again, Bredin’s survey confirmed that a phone call is the most effective and preferred method of contact to business owners. If a person did not pick up the phone initially, there is a likelihood of answering them it another time around. Additionally, an email with a discount, promotion, or special is almost as effective as a phone call.

3. Don't forget the power of referrals and thirdparty objectivity

A recommendation from a peer or colleague is most likely to get SMBs to purchase sooner, so encourage your customers to spread the word about your business.

Tactics to Speed Up the Buyer’s Journey 

Blog5.pngSource: Bredin Business Purchase Behavior Study, February, 2016

Other Helpful Tips:

  • If your company has earned recognition from the Better Business Bureau, JD Powers, or other rating sources, promote it.
  • Your customers can often be your best sales people. Encourage customers to spread the word and even provide incentives for them to post on social media that your prospects use, such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
  • Offer your customers discounts and benefits for writing reviews—it will attract more leads and help with your SEO

For more information about the Bredin survey, please download a copy of Bruce’s NEDMA presentation, which includes additional research slides and recommendations you can use right now to add leads to your pipeline and more profits to your bottom line.

Please be sure to subscribe to our blog for Part 2 of Increasing your Business’s B2B Marketing Success Rate in 2016.

Click to download Increasing Your Business's B2B Marketing Success Rate 

 

Topics: Bank Marketing, Direct Marketing