B-to-B Marketing Tips From the Pros

Trying to figure out what your approach should be in B-to-B social media groups, or how to craft your lead nurturing e-mails so they strike the right tone that gets and keeps your audience’s attention? Maybe you could use some content marketing ideas or even good old-fashioned advice on generating additional sales from your existing customer base.

The following roundup offers several pointers for teasing more performance from your B-to-B marketing efforts.

1. Develop better lead nurturing e-mails.
Automating your lead nurturing e-mails is one thing; getting results with these e-mails is another. Laura Ramos, former Forrester analyst and current vice president of industry marketing at Xerox Global Services, North America, suggests marketers ask their companies’ leading sales representatives to share and rate their “top 10 e-mail opening lines they’ve seen work with prospects” to identify good conversational approaches. Then, you can “narrow this set down to three or four, and conduct A/B testing to determine which formats, elements and offers work best on which audiences.”

2. Repurpose existing strong content into new formats with added value to attract leads.
For example, Babcock & Jenkins turned a marketer’s technical white paper into a multimedia eBook that offered video interviews with the company’s thought leaders paired with links to numerous downloads of more content on the specific subjects. Julie Wisdom, Babcock & Jensen’s executive creative director, told attendees at a MarketingSherpa conference that “the eBook attracted eight times as many readers as the original white paper-including hard-to-reach C-level executives.”

An even quicker approach is to take the key findings from your whitepapers and break them up into individual blog posts; an internal expert can add a little timely commentary to connect the ideas to current events.

3. Bring value to interactions on B-to-B social media communities.
According to Kristin McKenna, field marketing manager at Silverpop, today’s B-to-B prospect does not make solitary buying decisions; rather, he’s part of what McKenna’s colleague Adam Needles calls “a complex, savvy buying unit.” In her post, “Successfully Engaging with B2B Buyer Communities,” on Silverpop’s Demand Generation blog, McKenna writes, “This means B2B marketing more than ever must balance engagement with the singular user/buyer with the community surrounding that buyer and his/her decision.”

When it comes to interacting with B-to-B prospects in the various targeted social media communities, she advices marketers to not only become active members but also to “having buyer-issue focused content to drive your dialogue.” For example, take notice of which major pain points community members frequently discuss, and be prepared to first offer “big-picture ideas and thought leadership” before “channeling buyers towards a direct dialogue with your organization.”

4. Sell more to your existing customer base.
During lean times, marketers are reminded of the importance of their relationships with existing customers. B-to-B consultant, copywriter and author Bob Bly suggests doing an analysis of your current customers’ marketing operations to look for opportunities they’re not currently leveraging that could improve their businesses. Clearly, the goal is to get the contract to help the customer implement the idea, but don’t undervalue the importance of building a relationship with your clients that shows you’re also invested in their continued success.

5. Make the most of marketing automation.
According to Marketo’s B2B Marketing Cheat Sheet on Marketing Automation, companies should measure the following metrics to determine the ROI on marketing automation:

  • Increased conversion rates from each stage of your revenue cycle to the next stage (inquiry to lead; lead to qualified lead; qualified lead to opportunity; and so on).
  • Increased revenue per lead generation campaign.
  • Increased sales productivity (e.g., speed with which deals are closed, values of these deals, etc.).
  • Increased marketing productivity and effectiveness (e.g., ease and speed of creating and deploying campaigns; qualified leads and opportunities created per campaign; etc.).