GUEST BLOG BY FOUNDER AND CEO SCOTT SALKIN OF IDS TECHNOLOGY MARKETING
As the line between Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) marketing continues to blur, so do the strategies and tactics that turn your sales prospects into revenue-producing customers.
From branding and sales enablement to lead generation, social media and marketing automation, B2B sales and marketing presents a unique blend of challenges and complexities that oftentimes leaves even the most experienced marketers scratching their heads. And with analysts reporting that 60 to 70 percent of the B2B buying process is already complete before a prospect engages a salesperson, what’s the truth about what works, what delivers the best return on investment and what doesn’t?
Let’s take a look at six common myths that today’s B2B marketers must face – and bust them with hard-hitting statistics and real-life scenarios from the field:
Myth #1: Social media is for B2C consumers only
According to a series of studies, only 15 percent of B2B marketers reported that they used social media in 2007. Five years later, that number jumped to 91 percent. Why?
Well, today’s B2B buyers are not shoppers, they’re researchers. And 78 percent of them say that digital and word-of-mouth are the most trustworthy sources for information. So, when they’re looking to make their next big decision–like which enterprise storage environment to trust for their data needs–they’re turning to social media to help guide them.
Myth #2: Branding and lead generation are not connected
With B2B prospects spending more time than ever diving into research, scavenging social media, and hunting for trustworthy resources to help guide their decisions, B2B sales and lead generation are no longer simply about the relationship between prospects and sales reps. They’re about your brand assets-thought leadership and emotions built from the information that prospects now have access to thanks to social media, mobile and the web.
Myth #3: Sales enablement is optional
Today’s B2B buyers are smarter than ever and smart buyers need smarter sales reps. According to IDC, 57 percent of today’s B2B buyers feel that sales reps are typically not prepared enough for their initial meeting. If I’m you, that’s a terrifying number! Especially because the very same study reported that 33 percent of lost B2B deals are the result of circumstances that are within your reps’ control. How does that feel on your bottom line?
Myth #4: B2B telemarketing is just a commodity
With reps spending more time than ever working through complex deals with smart, educated customers, who’s left making cold calls? More often than not, the answer is “nobody.”
Whether building a list, driving attendance to an event, qualifying tradeshow attendees or setting appointments, telemarketing should never be a commodity in your marketing and sales process. Be diligent when hiring your reps, do your homework when searching for the right vendor, invest wisely when choosing your data, have patience and analyze your progress. Industry analysis has said it can take up to 80 dials to find a lead. If it were easy, you’d probably be doing it yourself.
Myth #5: Print and direct mail are dead
On the average day, I receive more than 150 emails. Some are important, many are not. A few go straight to my deleted items. How many pieces of direct mail did I personally receive today? Six.
Maybe that’s why a 2011 study revealed that a whopping 79 percent of B2B marketers said direct mail is a more effective marketing tool than email. In this ridiculously noisy digital age, a targeted and well-produced direct mail piece can get you noticed and be effective, even more so when it’s followed by a telemarketing call.
Myth #6: Marketing automation is the magic solution to your problems
It’s the buzziest of all marketing buzzwords. Companies left and right are implementing “cutting-edge” systems that promise to streamline processes, automate lead generation, converse with your prospects and build an overflowing pipeline.
Now don’t get me wrong–marketing automation has proven to be a tremendous tool for marketing and lead generation. If it weren’t, why would companies such as Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot and Infusionsoft (to name a few) be gobbling-up so many investors, customers and revenue? The answer is simple.
However, more often than not, the problem doesn’t lie in the technology, but rather in the resources available to the teams implementing it. In addition to monthly software costs, many companies haven’t planned ahead for the additional headcount and resources to manage the tool, create the automated workflows, develop the content, design the emails, host the webinars, analyze the metrics, integrate the CRM, follow-up on the leads…you get the point. Spend some time building a blueprint and a budget and your marketing may just get automated.
Watch an extended version of a presentation from Gangplank Tucson here.
Scott Salkin is the founder and CEO of IDS Technology Marketing. In 2010, Scott was listed on Arizona’s top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35 list. He holds a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Information Technology from San Diego State University.
Recently IDS Technology Marketing won Agency Marketer of the Year award. Read more about it here.