I hereby offer a roundup of ideas that you may have overlooked: IP address identification, a customer-driven content marketing strategy, better lead qualification, a renewed focus on customer and prospect data, account-based marketing, and linking consumer data with your business records. If any of these is new to you, I urge you to try them today!
IP address identification
A technique unavailable to consumer marketers, this one’s extremely valuable for B2B. And its cost is going down, as more marketing automation systems bake the functionality into their systems. But even using good old Google Analytics, you can see what companies have visited your website and develop strategies for how to take advantage of this information. I don’t suggest that you tell the customer directly that you notice they stopped by, of course. But any sales person who is already working the account will want to know about the fresh activity. And for entirely new prospects, you can design an outbound message strategy to prospects in the newly visiting firm, to describe your solutions and offer to help.
Arrange your content by buyer role and buying journey
The Content Marketing Institute tells us that a developing a sound content strategy is still a challenge for B2B marketers. One very effective approach is to audit existing content based on the buyer role (like specifier, decision-maker, end user) and the stage of the buying process (like need recognition, researching solutions, vendor comparison). Then you can evaluate what you have on hand and fill in the gaps based on the real customer needs.
Upgrade your lead qualification
I still run across B2B marketers who are handing inquiries off to their sales counterparts without effective qualification. You know what’s going to happen: sales will find the leads unproductive and they’ll complain—with reason—that marketing is giving them junk. So get your qualification criteria developed—in concert with sales—and ensure that you’re only passing leads that meet the specified criteria. In B2B, it’s about quality, not quantity.
Embrace your data
B2B marketers work with limited prospect universes, where the value of each account is huge, and we need to know everything we can about them. But many marketers still behave as if the content of their databases is someone else’s job. I say get close to your data. Inspect it. Assess its value. Fill in the gaps with data append or discovery. Don’t shy away or delegate. Make it your friend and your marketing asset.
Adopt account-based marketing
ABM isn’t new. This is how businesses have gone to market forever. But it’s getting renewed attention today and deserves a fresh look. Properly done, ABM can work wonders at bridging the gulf between sales and marketing teams. You can also develop highly relevant communications into targeted account segments. And it has the added benefit of focusing on key accounts, where the bulk of your profits lie.
Expand your customer insight by adding consumer data to your business customer record
Your B2B buyer is a person, with a personal life and a lot of interests outside of business. You can gain a lot of fresh insight into what makes these people tick and how to reach them effectively if you add their consumer data record to your marketing database. Companies like Stirista make this easy—and the payoff can be huge.
About Ruth Stevens
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools in the U.S. and asdabroad. Crain’s BtoB magazine named Ruth one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc., the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. Learn more at www.ruthstevens.com.
Ruth Stevens recently returned from teaching b2b marketing courses in Hong Kong