Archive for the "Content Marketing" Category


Video: What Content Does Sales Need to Close Deals?

Video: What Content Does Sales Need to Close Deals?

Armed with high-quality, substantive content, sales teams can use inbound marketing to close deals and boost sales. Here’s the content they need to advance purchasing decisions.

Aligning sales and marketing teams is not a new concept, but one that many companies don’t follow. Think about it: the ultimate goal in business is increased revenue from sales growth! In order to achieve this goal, it’s best to focus on what the buyers’ needs are at the individual stages of the buying process and to provide content to help them move along the sales funnel.

You’re asking yourself, “How do I do that?” Easy, start combining your sales and marketing efforts to maximize what each department does best.  When done correctly, content marketing can support sales goals, making it easier to generate leads and helping the sales team close business.

Valuable and relevant content is not a sales pitch but can help the sales process. Arm your sales team with content that communicates valuable information to prospects so that they have the knowledge to make more informed decisions.

Arm your sales team with content that communicates valuable information to prospects so that they have the knowledge to make more informed decisions. Click To Tweet

Moreover, concentrate on creating the kinds of content your target audience seeks, and distribute it through the platforms on which they seek it. How-to videos on YouTube? Thought leadership on LinkedIn? Optimize the material you distribute for each channel and use your sales team to further distribute your content.

But what kinds of content does your sales team need in order to close deals? Here to discuss our top suggestions is Frank Cavallaro, CEO and Founder of Fronetics.

Video: what content sales needs in order to close deals

Takeaway: teamwork is key

Sales and marketing teams that are aligned perform better. According to State of Inbound 2018’s latest survey, sales teams closely aligned with their marketing counterparts ranked the quality of marketing-sourced leads much higher than those that were rarely aligned or misaligned. That shows that when marketing and sales work together, everyone gets more of what they’re looking for — namely, leads and sales!

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Archive for the "Content Marketing" Category


6 Ways Digital Natives Are Changing B2B Purchasing

6 Ways Digital Natives Are Changing B2B Purchasing

A new generation of buyers, digital natives, is shaking up the B2B purchasing landscape. Is your business ready to meet them online?

Digital natives, who now make up the majority of the B2B purchasing landscape, have completely changed how vendors need to market and sell to buyers.

Digital natives, who now make up the majority of the B2B purchasing landscape, have completely changed how vendors need to market and sell to buyers. Click To Tweet

In fact, according to a study of millennial buyers by Merit, some 73% of 20 to 35 year olds are involved in product or service purchase decision-making at their companies. Not only that, about half of all B2B product researchers are digital natives — and the number is rising by the year, according to a Google/Millward Brown digital survey of buyers.

It goes without saying that the B2B purchasing landscape is going through a radical shift. Here are 6 ways that digital natives have changed B2B purchasing — and how companies have to respond.

6 ways digital natives are changing B2B purchasing

1. Product searches begin with a generic web search.

This means that companies now have to focus on SEO and producing informative content. First impressions are everything in B2B markets, and when it comes to digital natives, your first impression is conveyed through every piece of content you produce and distribute online.

2. They bypass sales people.

So companies should aim to switch from primarily outbound marketing to inbound marketing. This doesn’t mean that salespeople are going to be out of jobs. But it does mean that sales and marketing need to work together in new ways.

3. Online search, vendors’ websites, and peer/colleague reviews are their most important sources of information.

It’s time to place focus on SEO, website development, social media, influencer marketing, and B2B review sites. Again, your reputation depends on your online content. Are you establishing your brand as a trusted source of information?

4. They prefer short bursts of information, often in visual formats.

 Not only that, they find phone calls tedious and disruptive. Companies need to be strategic about the type and format of any content they distribute. Emails and websites should be mobile-friendly, and visual formats like infographics are a highly effective way to present dense information.

5. Social media is a preferred source.

 These digital natives are relying on social media for information on brands, products, and services. How does your social media presence stack up?

6. They know what they want by the time a salesperson enters the process.

This new generation of buyers already has a clear idea of the value they expect from a vendor by the time they’re ready to move down the sales funnel. So vendors need to deliver on the promises made by their content.

How is your company accommodating the research and purchasing habits of digital natives?

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Archive for the "Content Marketing" Category


Infographic: Top 3 Resources for B2B Buyers

Infographic: Top 3 Resources for B2B Buyers

Online searches, vendor websites, and peer recommendations are the top 3 resources for B2B buyers.

As a marketer, it’s not enough to just know about the B2B buyer’s process. Your success rides on your ability to understand how your buyers are getting their information — and, more specifically, where they’re getting the information they need to make a purchasing decision.

So where are they getting most of their information? I can tell you, it’s no longer from sales reps.

In our digital era, buyers are heading straight to the internet to gain valuable insight before making purchases. Thanks in large part to social media, mobile technologies, and the world wide web, buyers are becoming increasingly self-sufficient. In fact, 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales. This means they have already spent a fair amount of time educating themselves with the enormous amount of information available to them on the internet.

70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales. This means they have already spent a fair amount of time educating themselves with the enormous amount of information available to them on the internet. Click To Tweet

Is your content marketing meeting buyers where they are? Here are the three most important sources of information for B2B buyers.

Infographic: 3 top resources for B2B buyers

Top 3 Resources for B2B Buyers

Takeaway: Get in early

Listen, your prospects are forming their opinions about your business and your products based on what they find on the web, and early on.

This new reality may seem daunting, given how much of the purchase decision-making process occurs before you have the opportunity to engage with a potential client. But in reality, this changing climate offers serious opportunities for businesses to demonstrate their expertise, without turning buyers off with overt sales pitches.

To make the most of the potential purchaser’s experience with your business, content is key.

A robust content marketing program builds brand awareness, establishes trust and rapport with prospects, and generates traffic to your website. Thoughtfully generated and curated content catches the attention of buyers and keeps them interested in your business through the time of purchase.

With a well-thought-out, data-driven content marketing strategy, you’ll be ready to meet digital natives where they are.

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What Does Automation Mean for Supply Chain Marketing and Sales?

What Does Automation Mean for Supply Chain Marketing and Sales?

Automation has two major benefits for supply chain marketers: it drives efficiencies and improves success rates in earning and converting leads.

When you think about automation in the supply chain, you probably don’t immediately consider marketing and sales. Perhaps you envision robots scooting around warehouse floors, or maybe you think of applications in billing, compliance reports, or order auditing. However, advances in automation have impressive implications for marketing and sales in the supply chain as well.

Automation has two major benefits for supply chain marketers. Like all automation, it drives efficiencies, allowing your team to devote more time to other core competencies. What you may not know, however, is that it also improves success rates in earning and converting leads. In fact, HubSpot reports that businesses using marketing automation to nurture leads receive a whopping 451% increase in qualified leads.

New trends in marketing automation – particularly those which function more like artificial intelligence – can streamline and improve your marketing and sales efforts. Here’s how.

Integrate marketing automation into your CRM strategy

Integrating marketing automation into your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy may not be the first thing that came to mind, but the two work beautifully in tandem.

An integrated approach will take all three of the following areas to the next level:

  1. Track behavior. Automation lets you go far beyond basic demographic data, seeing things like what pages your prospects are visiting, what types of content they’re interested in, and where they are in the buying cycle.
  2. Send targeted messages. You can use the behavioral information collected by your marketing automation tool to create and send targeted messages that are customized to your prospects’ interests and stage in the buying cycle. This means your prospects will find your messages more relevant and engaging.
  3. Establish clear ROI. Establishing a clear link between marketing efforts and sales is a constant thorn in the side of most marketers, but new advances in automation make measuring ROI a little clearer. Creating a campaign in your marketing automation system maps it back to your CRM, so you can correlate closed deals directly with the campaigns that created them.

Basically, combining CRM with marketing automation can give you more organizational bandwidth, more precision in your messaging and lead nurturing, and more measurable value in your campaigns.

Create targeted messages with email workflows

There’s no area in which marketing automation is more helpful than in the creation of automated but extremely pertinent email workflows to your sales leads.

Based on the information you have about your leads and/or their engagement with your website, email workflows trigger a series of pre-determined highly-relevant emails at designated intervals, inviting them to take action and helping them to move down the sales funnel.

Email workflows do require considerable work upfront as you consider individual buyer profiles, their place within the buyer’s journey, and what timely and relevant information will advance them. But thoughtful well-designed email workflows can translate to substantial time savings and increases in lead conversion later.

More marketing automation: Social media scheduling tools & chatbots

Two other areas in which automation is making a big splash in marketing and sales are social media scheduling tools and chatbots.

The targeted approach of email workflows increases their chances of being read, but I don’t need to point out that – no matter how perfect your email might be – people are still buried in emails. On average, office employees receive 121 emails per day. Only around 20% are opened, and click-through rates are even lower.

On average, office employees receive 121 emails per day. Only around 20% are opened, and click-through rates are even lower. Click To Tweet

So, in addition to email workflows, the newest trends in automation are social media scheduling tools and chatbots. Both of them can make your job much easier — and improve your bottom line.

Social media scheduling tools

Social media scheduling tools, like those offered by HubSpot and Hootsuite, let you plan and schedule content across your social networks.

For example, HubSpot’s comprehensive CRM and marketing platform includes the ability to automatically post to social media when you publish content, as well as in-depth analytical tools for determining the best time to post to social media platforms. You can also monitor social mentions and link your social media activity with larger marketing campaigns to determine ROI.

Hootsuite lets you keep track of various social media channels at once. It also helps you perform brand monitoring, letting you know when you brand is mentioned, and what your customers are saying.

As you can imagine, using a social media monitoring tool can greatly improve efficiency, cutting into the sometimes-seemingly-endless manual hours spent on social media monitoring and posting.

Chatbots

A chatbot is s a computer program that simulates human conversation using auditory or textual methods. It communicates with your customer inside a messaging app, like Facebook Messenger, and is similar to email marketing without landing in an inbox.

Chatbots are the latest trend in marketing, and their increasing popularity is making it harder to ignore how artificial intelligence is helping shape the content marketing landscape. It’s certainly timely. Business Insider recently reported that the number of people on messaging apps surpassed the number of users on social networks!

Messaging automation is the new email automation, and it can work for supply chain and logistics industries too. Chatbots currently allow for increased customer engagement through messaging app technology that isn’t yet saturated with marketing, and your brand will also appreciate the ease of tracking and segmenting your customers through chatbots.

Marketing automation is for the supply chain

Automation isn’t just for the warehouse or the finance and billing department. It’s also for this crazy constantly-changing world of marketing in supply chain and logistics industries. Marketing automation can make a big difference in your marketing and sales efforts.

Integrating automation with your CRM strategy, creating targeted email workflows, and the newest advances like social media scheduling tools and chatbots can all add up to major time savings and substantial increases in lead conversion rates.

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5 Things to Do Before Starting an Influencer Marketing Campaign

5 Things to Do Before Starting an Influencer Marketing Campaign

Ask yourself these five questions before you dive headfirst into an influencer marketing campaign to set you on the right path.

We’ve been writing a lot lately about influencer marketing and how it can work for the supply chain. These campaigns can be extremely effective — but getting the most bang for your buck requires a strategic approach from the outset.

Before you start an influencer marketing campaign, ask yourself these 5 questions.

5 questions to ask before starting an influencer marketing campaign

1.      Why do I want to use influencers?

According to Natasha Lekwa, influencer marketing and social media editor at Snapchat, it’s important to “make sure you have a clear idea why you want to use influencers.” Answers might include boosting brand awareness, gaining followers, or increasing sales, to name a few. But each of these answers will lead you to a different strategy.

Being fully and deliberately aware of why you’re embarking on a campaign will help you set key performance indicators, determine your audience, and “envision what success will look like at the end of the campaign.” You’ll also be able to choose strategically the best platform to use, based on your content and target demographic.

2.      Who are my influencers?

It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often businesses dive into an influencer marketing campaign without having fully identified key influencers in their sector.

Lekwa suggest using hashtags to search Instagram for appropriate influencers and advises not just focusing on the obvious influencers in your industry. In fact, exploring influencers in other related industries can help expand your reach.

3.      Who are my micro-influencers?

Micro-influencers can give you a much higher ROI than big stars, and audience engagement tends to get higher as social niches get narrower. Click To Tweet

So you’ve identified your major influencers. Now you can start thinking about your “micro-influencers,” those with 10K to 100K followers. “Micro-influencers can give you a much higher ROI than big stars, and audience engagement tends to get higher as social niches get narrower,” Lekwa says. And since engagement is the name of the game when it comes to any kind of social media marketing, micro-influencers can be enormously valuable.

4.      What are your terms?

Since influencers tend to be content creators at heart, they often have plenty of great ideas. But it’s important that your goals are transparent and aligned.

“It’s important to be on the same page,” says Lekwa. “Having a clear contract that spells out what each side will execute will help manage expectations for both your team and for the influencer.” In fact, Lekwa points out that influencers generally appreciate having guidelines and “the big conceptual themes of a campaign handed to them.”

5.      What is my own value?

Approaching influencers can be intimidating. As Forbes writer Andrey Slivka points out, “As you might expect from people who get deluged with free stuff, influencers can be hard to impress.” This means you need to be clear and specific when you approach them about what you have to offer.

“Especially with micro-influencers, who are building their brands, what you offer doesn’t always have to be monetary,” Lekwa says. Often, brands can offer influencers exposure, the prestige of having their own brand associated with a larger business, or the resources to improve their content production.

Influencer marketing can be daunting at first, but it’s a powerful tool of the supply chain. If you lay the right foundation, an influencer marketing campaign has the potential to expand your brand’s reach exponentially.

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The 3 Most Important Sources of Information for B2B Buyers

The 3 Most Important Sources of Information for B2B Buyers

Today’s B2B buyers are mostly digital natives who get the majority of their purchasing information from online searches, vendor websites, and peer recommendations.

From a content marketing perspective, knowing where your buyers get their information is critical to an effective strategy. So what are most important sources of information for today’s B2B buyers? 20 years ago, you might have named things like product info sheets or sales reps. But not anymore.

B2B buying has completely evolved, thanks in large part to the increasing percentage of digital natives who now make up the B2B purchasing landscape.

Is your content marketing strategy meeting buyers where they are? Here are the three most important sources of information for B2B buyers.

3 top sources of information for B2B buyers

1. Online search

Not only is an online search the first move for 62% of B2B buyers, 94% of buyers report using online research at some point during the purchasing process. And this isn’t a surprise, when you consider that, according to a study of millennial buyers by Merit, “some 73% of 20 to 35 year olds are involved in product or service purchase decision-making at their companies.”

Not only is an online search the first move for 62% of B2B buyers, 94% of buyers report using online research at some point during the purchasing process. Click To Tweet

So what does this mean for your business? Gone are the days when a simply thinking about keyword rankings was enough to boost your SEO. In our four-part series on writing for SEO, we address how search engines and the search landscape have changed over the past several years. Improving your search ranking can seem like a complex process, but in the end it all boils down to one thing: quality content, presented in a clear and compelling manner.

2. Vendor websites

So buyers conduct their online search. And if you’ve done your content marketing homework, they find your business. How does your website stack up?

According to Bain’s global customer insights chief Eric Almquist, by the time they reach your website, buyers “will have already formed a strong opinion about many aspects of the value expected from a vendor.” For this reason, your website should “provide a wealth of information on these types of value, with details on where… products have been successful.”

Your website should be one of your primary assets. If you don’t give visitors plenty of easy, attractive opportunities to convert on your website, content marketing won’t generate leads for you. Your content should be organized and clear, presented with the goal of helping your potential customers. And opportunities for conversion should be everywhere.

3. Peers and colleagues

As digital natives step into purchasing roles in the supply chain, they’ve “brought their consumer habits to the B2B world,” says Almquist. This means that a big part of the purchasing process involves review sites, where purchasers seek the opinion of their peers and colleagues. “Reviews will tell the buyer how a vendor performs on many ease-of-doing-business elements long before the buyer has actual experience with that vendor.”

This aspect of content marketing can seem daunting for many businesses because of the perception that what’s on these sites is completely out of your control. But with the right strategy in place, review sites are actually a big opportunity for your business.

For a start, vendors “should encourage customers who are advocates of the company to provide reviews on relevant sites.” It’s also important to take an active role on these sites, responding to customer reviews — even the occasionally inevitable bad ones.

Says Almquist, “First impressions matter as much as ever in B2B markets. Today though, that first look comes through websites, user forums, and quick case studies, not flesh-and-blood sales pitches.”

With a well-thought-out, data driven content marketing strategy, you’ll be ready to meet digital natives where they are.

What sources of information for B2B buyers do you focus on?

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