August 25, 2020
Industrial manufacturers take part in 30 to 300 in-person events each year, investing by far the largest portion of their marketing budgets in trade shows, conferences, customer events and other face-to-face interactions. Often a key source of lead generation, such events provide an ideal platform for new product launches, meeting existing customers and opening doors for new opportunities.
While physical events have always been complemented by digital marketing and sales content, 2020 has prompted a dramatic shift from traditional sales forces to digitally enabled ones. However, the sheer variety of digital tools and channels, coupled with stricter financial controls in the current economic climate, makes it critical to continuously demonstrate high ROI for marketing activities.
To help our B2B audience navigate through this accelerated digital transformation, we’ve put together four steps to create an effective ecosystem that targets the right prospects - driving traffic, generating leads and providing intelligence to finetune future campaigns.
- Focus on three to five offerings in the next 12 months
A typical industrial manufacturer has hundreds, if not thousands, of products in its portfolio with sales cycles from two to 12 months. Select up to five products for each marketing team to focus on in the next six to 12 months.
According to Forrester, a B2B buyer must interact with a brand 11 to 17 times before making a purchase. Today, all of these interactions are bound to happen online and must include relevant and compelling content for each stage of the customer journey. This could be blogs and videos for prospects exploring different solutions to their business challenges, webinars for more of a deep-dive into technical solutions that address specific pain points, case histories to provide third-party endorsement and validation points, or live Q&A sessions to prompt buyers to get in touch.
Without spreading themselves too thin, each marketing team can create a successful platform for the most promising offerings and help nurture sales leads. By prioritizing a small number of products and tactics, marketers can set achievable goals for each and implement a system to measure progress and adjust future campaigns.
- It is no longer marketing vs sales
The main role of modern marketing teams is to generate sales-qualified leads, which are then passed on and closed by sales forces without any disruption to the customer experience. A customer should get the same brand image regardless of the channel or function she or he is interacting with. It has never been more accurate than in today’s always-on environment, where 85 percent of customers conduct online research before making a purchasing decision. What is more, B2B buyers, affected by their consumer role, expect their experience to be personalized and pre-populated with previously provided information.
Creating a consistent, compelling brand identity throughout all elements of your buyer’s journey will be key to your success. Each campaign is a story about your company and your products that needs to speak with the same voice, whether told by marketers or sales representatives.
- Sales lead generation machine, fueled by content
As mentioned above, your ideal buyer is likely to have up to 17 meaningful interactions with your brand when completing a purchase. It means 17 (!) different touch points telling the same story in multiple ways.
Options are vast (see Picture 1) and the choice depends on your target region, industry and available assets. Working with an experienced strategic partner will help match your available resources with the desired outcome, whether it is faster conversions to sales or higher lead generation. It will also facilitate the development of an ideal campaign that will serve as the model for future campaigns.
Creating a campaign system that is built around your current platforms to deliver content and move potential customers through your sales funnel will ultimately result in more and better leads, faster conversions to sales, and at the same time help maximize the investment you’ve already made in marketing technology, such as CRM and marketing automation and enablement systems.
- We can’t manage what we don’t measure
Modern marketing is an art as much as a science. While general principles remain the same, industry and country specifics demand tailored approaches. It is therefore paramount to create an assessment and feedback loop to continuously measure and optimize digital campaigns to reduce costs per lead and identify the most effective channels for your specific needs.
Digital transformation has enabled marketers to rule by metrics – from webpage traffic and click-through rates to social media engagement and ROI on LinkedIn ads – all providing accurate measurement in real time.
As we are home-bound, use this time as an opportunity to accelerate digital transformation within your organization to drive greater long-term benefits from your investment.
To help B2B companies establish an effective digital sales lead generation “machine”, we developed the PLAYBOOK on VIRTUAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES. Contact me directly at email@example.com to schedule an exclusive presentation.
Download a checklist for digital events that deliver ROI today.
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