No matter your business type, marketing is all about lead generation and nurturing-finding good-fit potential customers and priming them to make a purchase eventually. But if you’re a B2B marketer, you’ll need to use a tailored assortment of strategies, optimized for today’s B2B purchasing landscape.
Don’t get locked into the old thinking that your business initiates and controls the buying process.
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In today’s B2B landscape, the buyers have the power.
- Buyers are initiating the process, and they’re performing substantial research before they talk to someone from your company, on multiple channels.
- And since half of B2B decision-makers are under age 35, the process is becoming increasingly digital and increasingly buyer-centric.
- From websites to social media, from online videos to peer reviews and recommendations, buyers are using resources to become more informed than ever.
- B2B businesses usually go through a lengthy decision-making process and a multistep sales journey before making a purchase, including repeated research and comparison phases.
- It is only fitting since they’re seeking longer-term, high-stakes deals.
- Also, more stakeholders participate in a given business’ buying process than ever – both inside and outside the C-suite.
- On average, there is involvement of 6 to 10 stakeholders, each coming in with their own distinct perspectives.
Consider this: your average buyer is already 57% of the way through the purchasing process before they talk to someone on your team. So, as a marketer, you’ll need to ensure your efforts give buyers the information they seek, tailored for the perspective they come from.
What are the best types of tools to help B2B marketers with lead generation in this new B2B landscape? Let’s dive in.
Below are top B2B tools foe Marketers
One of the most classic marketing strategies on this list, email marketing, remains a relevant, effective lead generation and nurturing approach. After all, your leads are the ones who initiate the email marketing process. When you create a simple, enticing lead form that offers something of value, such as an ebook, whitepaper, newsletter, or webinar, prospective customers are glad to enter their email address and agree to receive your emails.
But then there’s the matter of creating and sending emails that your audience wants to read, and that convince your audience that you offer value. Adding email marketing software to your arsenal will make your life easier.
Email marketing software automates the email sending process.
- It helps you send emails at optimum times (when your leads are more likely to open them), and responsively(after prospects complete specific actions, such as follow-ups after they open a given email).
Select email marketing software also helps with the segmentation of emails.
- Segmentation involves dividing your leads into categories (based on role/job title, industry, size of the business, location, previous engagement with emails, or other factors) and then varying the text you use in the emails to better appeal to each segment.
- This way, you can target your messages to the people who will receive them, so they feel more personalized and less like mass emails.
- For example, marketing specialists and IT professionals might both be categories of stakeholders involved in the purchase of your product or service. People in each of these positions have different priorities for purchasing, though.
- With segmentation, you can send emails targeted to their specific goals and pain points.
And vitally, email marketing software helps you track your success.
- It tracks KPIs like open rate, click-through rate, leads further qualified, and conversions that result from your campaign, so you can determine what works well and what you should change.
- For example, if open rates are low, you might consider changing your subject, and if click-through or conversion rates are lower than you’d like, it may be time to tweak your formatting or copy.
Notable examples of email marketing software include:
2. SEO Tools
Your website is your first “salesperson” because prospective customers consult it for research and comparison purposes before they talk with a sales representative. But even if you’ve put loads of work into creating an informative, trust-building website with the content buyers crave, this won’t do you any good if buyers consistently find your competitors’ websites, and can’t find yours. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is vital.
SEO is about tailoring your website’s content, so it will rank highly on Google and other search engines when you perform searches for certain relevant keywords. You’ll want to optimize your website for keywords that describe your products or services, and for keywords that your prospective buyers are likely to search for at different points on their journey towards a purchase.
Providing relevant information focused on the keywords your audience searches for and generating backlinks to your site are critical. So is keeping visitors on your page, so they don’t quickly “bounce” off of it.
SEO is one strategy that’s nearly impossible to go at alone. You’ll need to enlist the help of SEO tools to identify the keywords to target; monitor your rankings, visibility, page visits, page retention rates, and bounce rates; find issues that could be hurting your search ranking; and analyze your competition (including the reputation, structure and backlinks of competing sites).
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are obvious picks for SEO software, but also consider these SEO tools:
3. Review and Reputation Management
Prospective B2B buyers trust the opinions and perspectives of others who have used a product or service far more than they trust traditional ads. Thus, generating and monitoring reviews and testimonials is vital for B2B marketers.
- 9 out of 10 B2B stakeholders are more likely to purchase a product or service after they read positive reviews of it.
- Interestingly, though, only 20% of B2Bs are thinking of adding reviews to their arsenal of marketing strategies.
Since not many B2B companies consider utilizing reviews as one of their B2B marketing strategies, harnessing positive reviews is an easy way to get ahead of the competition.
Make sure that it’s easy for your clients to leave reviews on popular and niche B2B review sites. Also, ask for reviews from clients when you know they are most satisfied, such as right after they’ve renewed their software license or subscription.
But monitoring reviews is just as vital as generating reviews. You’ll want to find positive reviews quickly so you can thank the reviewers; repurpose the most stellar reviews on your own web site’s homepage, landing pages, and dedicated review page; and perhaps enlist the reviewers to represent you further in detailed testimonials.
And it’s just as vital to find and respond to the negative reviews before they damage your reputation and drive potential buyers away. Resolving a reported problem quickly and graciously can turn a customer’s opinion from negative to positive, and in turn, convince them to change their one- or two-star review to a five-star review.
Searching the internet manually for reviews doesn’t always cut it, especially if you want to know what people are saying in real-time. That’s where reputation management software (sometimes called social monitoring software) comes in.
Reputation management software lets you input your brand name, along with any contextual keywords needed to identify a mention of your brand. Then, it alerts you to any new mentions of your brand across the internet, whether they be traditional reviews, social media posts, and comments, or mentions via another outlet, so that you can act on them quickly.
Top reputation management programs also tag mentions as positive or negative, and score them based on the user’s reach, using algorithms, so you can prioritize, which mentions to act on first. The best software of this type also lets you reply to and reshare testimonials right from the platform, so choose carefully.
Reputation management software programs to consider include:
- Google Alerts
4. Social Media Management
Social media is integral to 75% of B2B purchases, and that number rises to 82% when examining only purchases by members of C-suites. B2B buyers are increasingly going mobile to research purchasing options—and social media outlets are significant players in the mobile space—so this number is likely to hold steady or rise.
Thus, you’ll want to share engaging on-brand content—text, images, videos, reviews, and links to longer blog posts— on the social media platforms that buyers frequent most. It will help you build trust and authority in the eyes of prospective buyers!
Of course, the world of a marketer is busy enough, so posting to multiple social media accounts manually each day is a recipe for a headache. That’s why social media management software easily makes this top 5 list of B2B marketing tools!
Social media management software lets you schedule as many posts as you want in advance, for multiple social media accounts, and then makes those posts automatically on the days and times you specify.
That way, you can plan your social schedule out for days or weeks at a time, without having to worry about pushing each post out yourself. (Yes, some social networks’ terms still require you to push posts manually, but social management software still lets you schedule posts in advance, then prompts you to push them out with a single click, via a notification.)
It also provides valuable analytical data on how your posts are performing, so you can determine the content types and post times that work best for your business.
With select software, you can also store popular and evergreen posts in a library, for repeat scheduling. It will save you even more time in the long run.
And some social media management software does double duty and monitors your social mentions for you so that you can respond instantly. In other words, some social media management software also counts as the reputation management software.
Social media management tools to consider include:
- Sprout Social
- Zoho Social
Again, B2B stakeholders trust the opinions of peers who have already used your product or service far more than they trust messages that come from your business. Why not utilize your satisfied clients to help you increase your base of new clients?
Peer recommendations are often difficult to predict and keep track of. But a formalized B2B referral program puts some control of the sharing process back into the hands of your business.
B2B referral programs are valuable because they let you harness those peer recommendations directly to encourage potential buyers to purchase your product or service. They make it simpler for a client to share your product or service with other decision-makers and reward your existing clients for sharing. And at the same time, they generate valuable new leads—who are 4 times more likely to purchase non-referred leads, and who have a 16% higher lifetime value!
Referral programs can be challenging to set up on your own, though. After all, they contain several moving parts. And like most marketing efforts, you need to have a plan in place to track your referral program’s success (which is even more challenging to set up yourself).
Automating the process with referral marketing software makes managing referrals much more comfortable.
- Referral marketing software stores all your member clients and referrals for you,
- It also keeps track of which members are responsible for which referred leads, by generating the referral codes and links needed to connect each lead to a referring client.
- Then, when referrals are successful, the software keeps track of this, so you can quickly identify and reward clients who have earned incentives for referring.
- And if your referral marketing software integrates with workflow automation tools (such as Zapier), you can connect the software, so it instantly notifies your sales team about referred leads.
Also, automated referral programs make referrals easy to track.
- Referral marketing software comes with analytics, referral link distribution, and tracking built-in, so it’s easy to measure your program’s ROI and gauge its success.
- You’ll be able to track a wealth of metrics, including the program’s all-important conversion rate (the number of referred leads who ultimately make a purchase, relative to the total number of referred leads).
- And once you’ve set up your referral program and gathered data, your tracking mechanisms will help you test and refine your program.
Email marketing software, SEO tools, reputation, and social media management programs, and referral marketing software are highly recommended tools for B2B marketers. They will help you streamline your B2B marketing processes, save time, and generate leads within this modern B2B landscape where the buyer holds power. If you plan on implementing these tools, research your options first, so you can choose the specific software tools that work best for your business’ needs.