5 Major Challenges B2B Marketers Face (and what to do about it)
Every marketer and B2B business owner faces marketing and sales challenges that have been created from the vast changes over the past 20 years of the Internet age. Unfortunately, many smaller businesses have had a difficult time understanding what they actually need to know to create effective marketing and sales plans.
Even if your business has a solid and successful sales strategy, you may be falling flat online – losing out to technologically advanced competitors, struggling with a digital strategy, feeling like you need a more mature marketing plan, or concerned about mobile. Most of our clients have built their businesses on traditional sales models, but the concern is, has your competitor beat you online?
Whatever your need is, there is at least one area in your marketing efforts you can improve. And, since you probably don’t have the time to keep up with changing marketing and sales innovations, here are a few OPPORTUNITES for you to improve your marketing.
So… What’s Your Biggest Marketing Opportunity?
To help you figure out where some of your greatest potential marketing wins may lie, RedFusion has identified five current marketing challenges; that you can turn into opportunities. Take a few moments to look at what we find to be challenges to many of our current clients. If your are still confused after reading these steps, we can help you build with your own customized marketing plan.
5 Challenges in Modern Marketing that B2B Companies Face
1. Marketing and Sales Data
Why It’s a Challenge: Before you can start using data, you need the time and tools to capture, interpret and make decisions about the data you have. Many marketers and small business owners struggle with data challenges. From creating goals that would help you determine what data you need, to picking systems that execute the marketing plan that your data has already identified, it’s difficult.
Solution: First, your sales and marketing teams need to make SMarketing sales and marketing goals. Building goals that help bring together your sales people with your marketing plans is the first step in refining your data needs. Once you have SMART goals that are understood by your whole sales and marketing team, you can start collecting the specific data you need to achieve your goals.
Some additional data questions to consider:
- Are you tracking your suspects (website visitors), prospects (those who you have contact with), qualified prospects and customers?
- Are you tracking what channels are providing you the most prospects?
- Do you know where your qualified leads came from?
- Do you tie sales to marketing efforts?
New marketing data funnels help you answer questions that 20 years ago were not even thought of. Answering just one of the data questions can help you refine what tools you need. Then you can use analytics to determine which channels and efforts work best for your team.
2. Tracking Marketing Leads
Why It’s a Challenge: AS YOU READ THIS, you are being tracked. Not only am I using marketing technology to track you live in my funnels and in detailed reports, but others are tracking you all the time. Tracking website traffic has been around for a while, but were you aware of all the places you are being personally tracked? Google can track if you click on an ad, then walk into that store. Are you doing that? More concerning, is your competitor already doing that?
Solution: Some tracking is free if your website uses Google Analytics. But tracking has become much more powerful with live tracking, smart phones and your social interactions. Tracking anything and everything is possible, but for most businesses, you need to go back to your SMART goals, to figure out what tracking you need.
We help clients track their funnel, from visitor to customer, and understand what actions and funnels give you more sales. We are able to tweak your tracking to achieve a higher ROI, but only if your systems can track your data.
3. Campaign Execution
Why It’s a Challenge: We have been doing marketing consulting for 30 years, the hardest thing in marketing is actually executing the campaign. The lack of systems to help you with marketing execution is the death many great marketing ideas. Opportunities and relationships are lost because processes failed.
Solution: Systems. Seems like a simple answer, but we find that most B2B companies have not created systems that handle marketing execution and a customer relationship management (CRM) for your sales team. The best marketing systems are cheaper than hiring a full time employee.
Some additional data questions to consider:
- Do you have workflows?
- Do you implement marketing automation?
- Can you segment your data, so your prospects and customers are treated differently?
- Can you provide your management with a dashboard of execution results?
- Does your sales team all use the same contact CRM?
Why It’s a Challenge: Mobile has been a game changer for B2B businesses. Six years ago, I was at an advertising conference and the head of Google’s mobile division showed us what could happen with mobile commerce, mobile geo-fencing and mobile communications. Well his predictions all came true and more.
Today, many business owners ask us, “how do we even use mobile?” Well, it isn’t that hard, but the market is so fractured and growing, it is definitely confusing to understand your marketing path.
Solution: The first solution that businesses need to embrace is a mobile friendly website. You can learn more about mobile friendly and mobile penalties to your website here.
The second solution is helping your internal sales people with mobile solutions. There are great new mapping, sales, tracking, and even mobile CRM solutions. We use tools that show us the last contacts that opened or viewed our site, helping your sales people know when to pick up the phone.
Can your sales rep in California see when a potential customer opens an email in Colorado while they are driving to their next sales meeting?
5. Sales Funnels
Why It’s a Challenge: Funneling your marketing leads to your sales team is always a frustration for B2B marketers and sales managers. The sales guys might be running around in the field, busy with customers, and then the marketing team dumps a pile of leads in an Excel spreadsheet onto their lap. Have the leads been qualified? Do they even have a pulse? Or, like one of my clients, half are Chinese exporters trying to get them to outsource their production to China.
Solution: The solution is to have a funnel that: 1) captures leads; 2) qualifies the leads to the level your sales team can work with; 3) throws out the bad leads; 4) and helps the sales team close.
The technology to “qualify” is now very good. And if even we walk the walk in our office, we are throwing out marketing leads that other agencies would drool over. We give our partners more leads than they get from their own websites, because our funnels work better at disqualifying our leads, than their own website does at attracting leads. Building the funnel is now doable for any B2B company. You just need the help to get the funnel moving.
Next Steps & More
Challenges exist for all businesses, no doubt. But, today we have more and more marketing tools that help focus in on your prospects and customers. The major hurdles are not as major as you might think, but as I said in the execution bullet – if you don’t execute your marketing plan, or in this case find a tool to help you with executing, your marketing plan has already failed.
Don’t just take my word for it, Google some marketing terms and take a look at the marketing landscape. If you’re lost, we have a team of marketing experts ready to chat about your issues, about your sales and your marketing funnel.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that we spend hours every month looking for marketing solutions. It takes time. Takes effort. And it takes advice from experts (yes, we ask lots of questions). But, the advantage to our clients is that we put in the time learning the latest and greatest marketing technologies so that they can spend their time doing what they do best.
- If I were going to start a business today:
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- Inbound Phone Calls and Tracking Call Value
- Content Marketing IS Traditional Marketing
- Crashing your SEO is More Common than Winning at SEO
- Marketing by the Numbers – Customer Data